T&T cops foil Bank of Baroda robbery
(Trinidad Express) Hours after Government announced its new anti-crime campaign on Wednesday, four thieves smashed their way into the Port of Spain branch of the Bank of Baroda, and demanded the keys opening the vault to millions of dollars.
However, police officers walked in on the robbery in progress, arrested the suspects, and rescued three bank employees and two security guards.
National Security Minister Brigadier John Sandy on Thursday credited “pro-active policing at its best” for the arrests.
Sandy had announced at the post-Cabinet meeting on Wednesday an immediate increase in joint army patrols in homicide hot spots.
He told the Express in a telephone interview yesterday, “They (police officers) were on patrol and saw something not looking right, and it was keen observation on their part that caught (the suspects) in the act.”
A Bank of Baroda employee said yesterday a passerby who witnessed the crime also made an anonymous call to police.
One of the bank’s managers, Ranjit Kumar, an Indian national, later told officers that four men stormed the bank demanding the keys to the vault. Kumar said he was also robbed of TT$2000.
Kumar said the thieves broke in just as the bank, majority-owned by the Indian Government, was wrapping up operations for the day.
Bank employees Sandip Sinat and Mahadeo Meena, also Indian nationals, told officers that they had been beaten by the thieves who kept asking for the vault keys.
The victims were treated for cuts and bruises at the Port of Spain General Hospital, and released.
Police said that at around 7 p.m., officers of the Port of Spain CID and Criminal Records Office were on mobile patrol along Independence Square, when they noticed the bank’s burglar proofing was open, and the glass front door smashed. The bank is located at the Furness Building, at the corner of Independence Square and Wrightson Road.
A man standing outside the bank ran towards the Breakfast Shed near the International Waterfront Centre, police said.
Two officers chased after him.
He was found hiding under a boat dry-docked near the restaurant.
Meanwhile, two police officers walked into the bank and handcuffed three “nervous looking” men who offered no resistance.
As officers searched the building, they found two employees in a room on the floor, with hands and feet tied. In another room was a third employee who had not yet been tied.
Two suspects, aged 21 and 29, are from Beetham Gardens.
One suspect, a 28-year-old, lives at Wharton Street, Laventille.
The fourth, a 28-year-old, gave an address in Chaguanas that turned out to be bogus.