Almost half of the money stolen during a break-in at a Tuschen grocery store was yesterday recovered buried in a yard and police have detained several occupants of the house including a man said to have been a participant in the theft.
Stabroek News was told by Clarence Cozier, the owner of the store that a total of $704, 000 has been recovered.
Contacted, Divisional Commander Senior Super-intendent Ian Amsterdam confirmed the recovery of the some of the money. He said that so far one suspect has been arrested and police are looking for a second person.
Cozier said that he is elated that some of the money has been recovered and he urged that the police hand it over as soon as possible as he had to pay persons he had credited items from.
He explained that a man identified as `Red man’ visited his home and said that he had information as to who committed the robbery. He said that the man volunteered to take him to that person so that he could get back the money.
Cozier said that he then made contact with the chairman of the Com-munity Policing Group (CPG) and together they all went to Goed Fortuin where they picked up a man by the name of `Barney’ who has been fingered in a number of break-ins in the East Bank Essequibo community.
He said that subsequently while in Tuschen, they encountered a bus load of police ranks. Cozier said that the ranks were informed that `Barney’ had information about where the stolen money was hidden and they were all taken to the Leonora Police Station.
He said that the man continuously denied that he had committed the act and had any information about the whereabouts of the money.
He said that ranks then decided to review the footage of the break-in which was captured by the security cameras at Cozier’s business. He said that the face of a 16-year-old boy was identifiable but his accomplice who was wearing a “hoodie” could not be so easily identified. According to Cozier, based on the man’s movements and body type one could see that it was `Barney’.
Ranks, he said then decided to search `Barney’s’ home which is located not far from Cozier’s business place. He said that the home was searched and all ranks found was the bag that the money was packed into at the store. The “hoodie” and the money were nowhere to be seen.
Ranks then decided to search the yard since they had received information that the money had been buried. While in the yard, he said that they noticed a “fresh spot” at the back and when the ranks asked, `Barney’s’ wife and mother said that they had just planted some pepper seeds at that spot.
Ranks not believing their explanation decided to dig up the area and it was there that they found a bag containing cash. According to Cozier, the money was taken to the police station where it was counted. The man’s wife, his mother and father were also taken to the station for questioning. Up to late yesterday afternoon they were still being questioned.
Cozier clarified that while he had identified a 16-year-old boy as one of the perpetrators, it was actually the teen’s older brother who was detained by police. He said that the teen is still on the run.
The second person who was detained along with the teen’s brother, he said, is also part of the gang that has been breaking into people’s homes and businesses. Based on what he said, the police now have “Barney” and the teen’s brother in custody for the break-in. It is unclear if the third man has been released.
Cozier said that without the help and support of the CPG chairman, the recovery of the money and the arrest of `Barney’ may not have been possible. He said that the chairman responded promptly to his pleas for help and even volunteered his personal vehicle to take them to Goed Fortuin to apprehend `Barney’.
He said that given that some of his money was recovered buried in yard of one of the suspects, he hopes that he will get “lil justice”.
It was reported to this newspaper that around 2 am on Tuesday two men broke into Cozier’s store through a side window. They collected $2M from a cash register and the office and left. Cameras in the store recorded their every movement. They spent about 20 minutes in the store.
Cozier who resides in the upper flat did not hear any strange noises prior to him making the discovery around 6am.
This is the third break and enter incident he has suffered over the years. He was also previously robbed at gunpoint.