Justice Breyer and wife robbed by machete-wielding man in West Indies


A Supreme Court spokeswoman says Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer was robbed last week by a machete-wielding intruder at his vacation home in the West Indies. (Steve Helber/AP)
February 13, 2012

Justice Stephen G. Breyer and his wife, Joanna, were robbed by a masked, machete-wielding man last week while on vacation at their home in an island in the West Indies, a Supreme Court spokeswoman confirmed Monday.

Kathy Arberg said neither the Breyers nor two friends visiting with them were hurt in the Feb. 9 incident. A masked man who entered the Breyers’ vacation home on the island of Nevis after 9 p.m. stole about $1,000 and then left, Arberg said.

FBI agents and the U.S. Marshals Service are involved in the probe of the incident. “We are assisting the local police in their investigation,” FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said.

The St. Kitts-Nevis Observer said local law enforcement had been notified when the Breyers arrived in Nevis, as is customary, but it was not clear whether there was security with the justice. There has not been an arrest. Breyer has left the island.

The court is on its customary February break and is next scheduled to meet for a private conference Friday.

The Breyers report on their financial disclosure that they own a home worth between $100,000 and $250,000 in the country of St. Kitts and Nevis. The 36-square-mile island of Nevis is a frequent vacation spot for Americans.

Breyer is a longtime visitor and is frequently mentioned in travel articles written about the area. The robbery was covered in the local press, but without mentioning Breyer, 73, by name.

The Supreme Court is reluctant to disclose details about the security justices receive. But they often go about their daily routine unrecognized and without escort.

Known crimes against the current justices are rare. In 2004, a group of young men assaulted now-retired Justice David Souter as he was jogging near his apartment in Southwest Washington.

And in 1996, Justice Ruth ­Bader Ginsburg was the victim of a purse-snatching as she and her husband and daughter were walking near the Kennedy Center.

Staff writer Sari Horwitz contributed to this report.

Robert Barnes has been a Washington Post reporter and editor since 1987. He has covered the Supreme Court since November 2006.
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