(Trinidad Guardian) Gasparillo residents reacted with anger and panic yesterday after bandits invaded the home of a hardware owner and killed his daughter.
The hardware owner is the fifth family to be targeted in the past week.
Local Government councillor for Gasparillo Safraz Ali said businesses that usually opened late were now closing by 6 pm because they were afraid of being robbed.
He said while more police patrols were needed, criminals needed to be punished and made examples if crime was to be controlled.
Carla Archalal, 30, was found dead at her home at Bonne Aventure Road after she was believed to have suffocated to death. She was described as a slow learner.
The three bandits who invaded her home, located at the back of the hardware store, tied her up and gagged the entire family with duct tape.
They stuffed her mouth with a piece of a bedsheet. Her father, Vishnu, 61, and her brother, Marlon, 34, were bound by tie straps and gagged with duct tape.
A report stated that the family was asleep in their two-storey home at the back of their hardware store when around 3 am three men cut open the locks and entered the premises.
Marlon, who lives downstairs, said he was awakened by the sound of someone walking through the house. Within a few seconds, the men appeared in the bedroom, demanding money.
“They came in by me and ask where the money. I gave them the money, about $4,000, which was right in my pants pocket.
“That money came from the business. After that, they tied up my hands and feet with plastic straps and put duct tape over my mouth. I was so frightened,” Marlon said.
The bandits were able to load several grinders, pumps and batteries into a van and escaped. Up to yesterday, no one was arrested.
Scores of residents gathered outside the store which has been there for the past 25 years.
As he was being consoled by relatives, Vishnu told the T&T Guardian it was the first time he had been robbed.
He said the men came into his room upstairs, demanding money but he told them he was a pensioner and had none. He too was bound and gagged with plastic straps and duct tape as the men ransacked his house.
“I was tied there for an hour and the more I struggled, the more the strap got tighter. I wasn’t worried about myself, I was worried about my daughter.
As soon as the police came, I asked for her and they told me she was with the EHS. I asked if she was raped or beaten and they told me no. It was only when the EHS was ready to leave that they told me that she died,” Vishnu said.
It was believed the men then went into Carla’s room and tied her hands and feet and stuffed part of the sheet in her mouth to prevent her from calling for help.
Their neighbour, Surujbally, said he heard someone calling out to him, “Uncle Sugars” so he opened his back door and heard a female voice mumbling, “call the police.”
Assuming that they needed help, he called the Gasparillo police but he said he never thought something so tragic was taking place.