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St. John Murder on First Crime Stoppers Agenda

Jan. 14, 2009 — St. John has wracked up another dubious honor: The Jan. 5 murder of Juan Ayala was included on the Crime Stoppers of the Week list, the first since the program rolled out in the Virgin Islands Jan. 7.
The murder of the St. John businessman was also the first in the territory for 2009.
The Crime Stoppers of the Week list also includes one crime each that happened during the past week on St. Thomas and St. Croix.
Ayala died outside his Pastory home from multiple gunshot wounds.
"Everybody is still talking about it because of its horrific nature," said one Pastory resident, who did not want to be identified.
He called on anyone with information about the crime to call the police or Crime Stoppers.
"I think people need to step up," he said. "This is not squealing. It's justified concern."
Police say there may be two suspects, according to a Crime Stoppers news release. One suspect is described as a black male with braided hair.
While Ayala died at his home in Pastory, he owned Cap's Place, a bar in downtown Cruz Bay.
Elected officials should take a walking tour of St. John at night, suggested the anonymous Pastory resident.
"They'll see the sketchy nature of what our towns have become," he said.
Crime Stoppers member Bonny Corbeil, who works with the St. John arm of Crime Stoppers, reflected on Ayala's murder.
"I'm so sad we have to be the first one (murder) in the territory," she said.
The St. John Crime Stoppers organization has 30 members, which Corbeil said was the highest in the territory. Many of those memberships belong to people who own vacation villas on St. John but live on the mainland.
"The owners have a vested interest in having their neighborhoods be as safe as possible," said Eileen Duffy, owner of Catered to Vacation Homes.
She doesn't know exactly how many residents of the 40 villas her company manages joined Crime Stoppers, because some owners sent checks directly, but she said Vacation Homes wrote checks for eight to 12 villa owners.
Crime Stoppers memberships run $50 for individuals and between $100 and $200 for businesses, depending on the size of the business, Corbeil said. Bronze, silver, gold, and platinum memberships run between $1,000 and $10,000.
Membership applications are available at the St. John Community Foundation office in the Marketplace shopping center, according to another Crime Stoppers organizer on St. John, Paul Devine. For more information, call the office at 693-9410.
Memberships are also available for residents of all islands at crimestoppersusvi.org or by calling 244-5699.
The Crime Stoppers of the Week list also includes a request to help find the suspect or suspects involved in the Jan. 10 shooting at the Frontline Night Club on St. Croix. At least three suspects hiding in nearby bushes fired weapons at vehicles and the club, police said. The shooting injured three people.
Crime Stoppers also asks the community to help the police department find the suspect or suspects involved in the Jan. 10 shooting at Coki Point Beach on St. Thomas. Police are searching for a suspect who allegedly shot and wounded a bartender and then fled the area. The suspect is described as a black male 18 to 20 years old, slim built, with braided hair. The suspect speaks with a "stateside" accent and may be from the Atlanta area.
Police will issue the "Crime Stoppers of the Week" list every week, said police department spokeswoman Melody Rames.
Anyone with information on these or other crimes should call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS, or 800-222-8477. Tipsters may also visit crimestoppersusvi.org and submit an anonymous tip online. You do not have to give your name or testify in court. If the information you provide leads to an arrest of the person involved in the crime, you will earn a cash reward of up to $2,500.
"You get to dictate where you want the money left for you," Corbeil said.
Police Commissioner James H. McCall reminds residents there is a $10,000 reward information leading to the arrest and conviction of any murderer in the Virgin Islands. People with information are urged to call police emergency 911, the Major Crimes Unit at 715-5522, or the Chief of Police's Office at 715-5548.
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