AK-47 brandishing gunmen on Monday morning stormed the home of a Corentyne, Berbice cambio dealer by hammering their way into the premises.
The bandits gained entry to the Lot 93 Albert Street, Kingston, Corriverton, Corentyne home by hammering open a window at the front of the two-storey house to remove the iron grille.
At the time, businessman Devendra Churaman, 48, also called “Katax”, was at home alone.
Reports are that five of the gunmen used sledgehammers to break open the window.
Churaman said that all of the men who entered his home about 01:45h were carrying AK-47 rifles.
According to Churaman, as the men hammered into his home, others were standing guard on the outside.
He said the men took in excess of $1 million in jewellery along with an undisclosed amount of cash.
“Dem man take sledgehammer and broke in and five of dem come in me house, with one set of big, big gun and start fire up shots and they take money, but ah can’t say is how much yet,” the businessman told this publication.
However, the Police subsequently divulged that the amount stolen was over $20 million.
According to the cambio dealer, the gunmen after gaining access to his home, used sledgehammers to break open the steel door leading to his bedroom. The men then demanded money. During this time, the father of two was being held at gunpoint. Several shots were also discharged in the house.
When this news publication visited the home on Monday, several bullet holes were seen in the ceiling and walls.
Churaman said that it took the bandits about 30 minutes to gain entry to the house during which time he called the Police, but they arrived one and half hour after the initial call was made to the Springlands Police Station. Before leaving, the bandits also took away the surveillance footage.
Meanwhile, one of the businessman’s neighbours recalled hearing about 60 shots.
The man said about 01:45h he heard what appeared to be firecrackers exploding. When he peeked through his window, he noticed several men at his neighbour’s window using sledgehammers to break it open.
According to the neighbour, he immediately called the Police and called again six other times to let them hear the gunshots over the phone.
“It take the Police one hour and ten minutes to get here. When everything done and people come out and ready to go back home back, then them reach here…,” the man recalled.
Another neighbour, in recounting the incident, said, “My dog was barking and that was when I get up to go and see, but when ah open the door to come out, is then I hear the gunshots and then me ain’t worry come out.”
She also said she did not peek outside. However, after about 20 minutes later, she heard voices. “One of them say, if ‘alyo get everything, boy;’, and me ain’t hear no response and then he say, ‘let’s move it’,” the woman recalled.
Meanwhile, Berbice Divisional Commander, Senior Superintendent Errol Watts, speaking at a press conference Monday morning, said that according to the report Police received all of the men were heavily armed.
“At least 15 bandits, five of whom entered his home armed with handguns and rifles and took away an undisclosed sum of money. As a result of this, neighbours managed to call the Police at about 02:05h and the Police responded, but by which time, the bandits had already left the house,” Watts told the media.
According to Watts, the bandits also used firecrackers. “They also fired squibs for it to appear as though it was squibs being fired so as not to alert members of the public to the fact that they had rifles.”
He explained that the remains of used firecrackers were discovered in the area. The Commander also noted that it appeared that some of the men were strangers to the area.
This conclusion was reached after residents reported to Police that some of the bandits were asking others which way to go as they exited the area.
Watts said that on Sunday evening, six ranks were on duty and were responsible for patrolling from Moleson Creek to Number 43 Village – a stretch of about 25 miles. The Police so far recovered 21 live rounds which are used by AK-47 rifles and two used shotgun cartridges.
An investigation has been launched. This newspaper understands that several persons have been arrested for questioning regarding the robbery.
According to the Divisional Commander, Watts, the suspects, one of whom happens to be female, will all be subjected to an identification parade.
He noted however, that searches at the homes of the persons in custody have proved futile since no evidence has been uncovered. (Guyana Times)