Police in Berbice are investigating a seven-man armed gang operating out of Mount Sinai, one of the suburbs of New Amsterdam, referred to as Angoy’s Avenue. One of the gang members was arrested on Friday 17 June.
On the morning of Sunday 18 June, the gang reportedly responded by attacking four homes, successfully entering two and terrorizing the families, as they took away cash and other valuables.
Divisional Commander, Assistant Commissioner Ian Amsterdam is of the view that Sunday’s attack was in retaliation of the arrest of a gang member on Friday.
Veronica Balak, 69, of Lot 5 Mount Sinai, was reportedly beaten and robbed by the said gang. According to Balak who lives alone, at about 03:00h on Sunday she heard banging on her door and then four men appeared in her bedroom: “When them come in me tell them me na go holla, an they ask fo money and gold but I tell them that I is a pensioner.”
The elderly woman noted that of the four men, one was armed with a gun, one with a cutlass and one with a crowbar. The defenceless woman related: “When me tell them that me na get gold, them start beat me up, dem knock me all up in me head….”
She said that they ransacked her home and took all of the money she had which was less than $20,000.
Within the hour, four other places were attacked: Budhan’s Housing Scheme, Mount Sinai, including a grocery store, and three houses.
Oliver Ross says his wife was assaulted and a shot fired at him as bandits entered his home. He said it was after 04:30 on Father’s Day when three men entered his Lot 39 home while two remained under his house: “Two of them had guns and one was armed with a cutlass. By the time I heard strange sounds they were already in the house. They put the guns to our head and said bring all the money and the gold and everything that you got.”
Ross said he appealed to the thieves saying that he and his pregnant wife were only middle class and not wealthy but it made no difference as there were threats made to rape his wife: “He grab my wife and pulled her by her hair and I tried to stop him and then he fired a shot at me.”
He said the men ransacked the home during the five minutes they spent and took what they could. It was reported to Police that the bandits relieved Ross of $78,000, a cellular phone, a television set, a tablet and a laptop computer.
At Lot 31 Budhan’s Housing Scheme, Ingrid Soohan, 67, reported that bandits broke the padlock off of her gate and were attempting to get into the downstairs apartment. At the time, she was up already doing her morning chores and thought it was her downstairs tenant returning home. The elderly woman said she called out to her tenant, greeting him and that might have scared the bandits off.
Also at Lot 9 Budhan’s Housing Scheme, householders were alerted after two men with guns had wrenched open a kitchen window. They called out to a neighbour who reported that they were two others under the house. After the alarm was raised the men jumped over a fence at the front yard and ran further into the scheme.
According to Amsterdam, during last week Police officers were on patrol and in the vicinity of the Berbice River Bridge they intercepted a car and took the driver into custody after not being convinced that he was waiting for a passenger to return with his G$300 taxi fare.
However, the following day surveillance footage revealed that a car fitting the description of the one that was parked at D’Edward Village was the car which dropped the men off before the robbery at D’Edward Village earlier that night.
Based on information provided by the driver of the alleged getaway car, Police arrested a suspected gang member on Friday.
The gang is also linked to a robbery of a New Amsterdam Market vendor at his New Street, East Canje home three weeks ago when G$1 million in cellular phone cards were stolen.
Meanwhile, two persons are in custody in connection with the Father’s Day robberies. (Andrew Carmichael)