- millions in stolen cash recovered
Armed robbery suspect and ex-employee of Kaieteur News, Ryan Wharton, who was arrested on Monday and further questioned by investigators, has since confessed to being the mastermind behind the armed robbery at the Kaieteur News establishment in the early hours of Monday morning.
Full statement below:
Wharton claimed that while he used to work with Kaieteur News, in the year 2021, he got to know Joshua Junor, a 35-year-old security guard who is employed with Kaieteur News and of Lot 223 Middle Road La Penitence (and who alleged to be one of the victims of the robbery) and they became friends.
After he left the job, Wharton told Joshua that they could “thief money” from Kaieteur News and Joshua reportedly agreed. On 2022-10-09, at about 11:00 hrs, Wharton said Joshua came to his home with his motorcar, along with Ivor Belingie also known as ‘Wildlife’, a 25-year-old unemployed man of Back Circle, East Ruimveldt and they made plans to rob Kaieteur News.
Wharton asked Belingie if he had a gun and Belingie said no. He told Belingie that he will provide him with a gun and that they will rob Kaieteur News and they all agreed.
Joshua Junor and Ryan Wharton then left, after which he called a friend Harry Stongster, a 36-year-old taxi driver of Hyde Park, Timehri on his cell phone and told him about the plan to rob Kaieteur News and Harry agreed to go with them.
After that, Wharton said he called his cousin Lemuel Grant of Charlestown and asked him to borrow his Spacio and Grant lent him the vehicle.
Wharton said he proceeded to change the number plate on Grant’s vehicle and replace it with a fake number plate HC 5152. At about 23:00 hrs, on the said date, Harry Stongster came to his home with a motorcar and Wharton gave Harry a phone number for Belingie and told him to call Belingie and pick him up at Back Circle in East Ruimveldt, which Harry did.
Shortly after, Harry returned with Belingie whom he gave his unlicensed 9mm pistol and they proceeded to Kaieteur News, in the Spacio vehicle which he (Wharton) drove.
On arrival, Belingie held Joshua Junor and two others at gunpoint, as they had planned, while Wharton and Harry went up to the Accounts Department where he knew the safe was located. They pushed open the Accounts office door, and broke off a padlock on a desk drawer. Wharton along with Harry then lifted out the safe which was under a desk and put it in the back seat of Grant’s car. Then he along with Harry and Belingie drove to his home, where they opened the safe with a grind handle, hammer, and a chisel in an office under the house, and removed a large sum of cash, a firearm, ammunition, one holster, magazines, and firearm hand grips, from in the safe.
They then parted (divided) the money into four. Belingie collected Joshua’s share after which he took off his clothes, hat, and boots. The others did the same and then Wharton burnt the clothes – and the vehicle’s fake number plate – in front of his house.
At that point, Harry and Belingie left with the ‘safe’ to throw it away. Wharton then placed the firearm, ammunition, magazines, holster, and the firearm grips into a black strap haversack and he gave his friend Collis Heywood, a 40-year-old self-employed resident of Tucville to keep for him.
He then placed his share of money into a plastic bag, along with his cell phone, and at about 05:30hrs the following morning, he took the money and phone to his child-mother Lorilee Garraway and gave it to her to keep, after telling her that he won the money from Superbet.
After his confession, Wharton proceeded to take detectives to the home of Collis Heywood, where Collis was contacted and he handed over the bag containing one .32 Taurus pistol, 209 live .32 rounds of ammunition, 71 live 9mm ammunition, five 9mm magazines, two .32 magazines, one pistol (Glock) case, one holster, three hand grips. The said firearm is the property of Glenn Mohan Lall, the owner of Kaieteur News.
The ranks then went to Ryan Wharton’s home where a search was conducted and the grind handle, the hammer and the chisel were found in an office at the bottom of Ryan’s house.
Contact was made with Wharton’s child-mother, Lorilee Garraway, and she was questioned and subsequently handed over the cash to the ranks. She claimed the said story which Ryan said about her. The money was checked and it amounted to three million, five hundred thousand dollars (Guyana Currency).
Harry Stongster was arrested at his home and he admitted what Ryan Wharton had said about him and he handed over two million, six hundred and sixty-seven thousand nine hundred dollars (Guyana Currency) and six hundred and eighty-five dollars (US currency), to the police ranks. The same was also lodged.
Efforts were made to locate Bilingie and Joshua Junor but without success, so far.
Meanwhile, Harry Stongster took the investigating ranks to a trench at Cane View Avenue, South Ruimveldt Garden where the safe was recovered. The safe was photographed and lodged.
Contact was also made with Lemuel Grant, a 23-year-old clerk at the Georgetown Public Hospital’s Stores Department and of Russell Street Charlestown, who claimed that his mother Sharon Grant is the owner of the Spacio motor vehicle (number PPP 5379) and that Ryan Wharton did borrow the car from him on the 9th October 2022, and he returned it on the morning of the 10th October 2022. The car was seized and lodged.
Ryan Wharton, Harry Stongster, Collis Heywood, and Lemuel Grant are presently in custody.
The total amount of cash recovered is six million, four hundred and six thousand, six hundred dollars ($6,406,600) along with six hundred and eighty-five dollars in US currency (US$685).
Investigations are in progress.