Foiled Republic Bank robbery: Suspects walk free after Magistrate upholds no-case submission

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Senior Magistrate Leron Daly, this morning, freed the men accused of attempting to carry out a daring robbery at Republic Bank’s Water Street, Georgetown branch on July 4, 2017.

Those charged are former Police Constables Anfernee Blackman of Laing Avenue, West Ruimveldt, Georgetown and Gladston George of Princes Street, Lodge, Georgetown; former Republic Bank employee Shawn Grimmond of Kitty, Georgetown; and Keron Saunders of Mocha, East Bank Demerara (EBD).

L-R: Shawn Grimmond, Gladston George (white) and Anfernee Blackman, and Keron Saunders

Another former employee of the bank, Jamal Haynes, was also slapped with charges for attempting to commit a robbery and illegal possession of firearm and ammunition. He was sentenced to a total of six years’ imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to the charges at his first court appearance at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court in July 2017.

During the attempted robbery, 23-year-old Elton Wray, an agronomist, was shot dead by the Police. He had been a beneficiary of a Government of Guyana scholarship to study in China, and had graduated with a degree in agronomy. At the time of his death, he was serving the second of his five-year obligatory contract.

Elton Wray who was shot dead during the robbery

Earlier this morning, Magistrate Daly upheld the defence’s no-case submission and ordered the men, except Saunders, to be freed. Saunders was told to lead a defence on July 14 when the matter is called again.

It was reported that Haynes and Grimmond knew that businesses would have deposited substantial amounts of cash into the chutes through night deposits. As such, a plan was hatched for the robbers to grab that money which would have been emptied into a canister by a female employee.

However, things went awry when their accomplices broke into the bank without knowing that they had received a text message from Grimmond who was already at work informing them to hold off since the employee who was supposed to open the canister was not at work.

After receiving reports of the robbery, Police responded promptly. The bandits engaged the officers in a shootout which resulted in the death of Wray. Haynes was also shot as he attempted to evade the lawmen. Saunders subsequently surrendered and was taken into Police custody.

The others were all implicated in the robbery by Haynes and were later arrested. Police said that three high-powered pistols were recovered from the crime scene.