Bandits yesterday attacked Muneshwar’s Hardware Store at Good Hope, East Coast Demerara, where they robbed customers and escaped with a large sum of cash from the business.
The attack, which was carried out by three men yesterday afternoon, was captured by the store’s surveillance camera but police later said that the footage was too blurry to use.
No one was hurt in the armed attack, which began when the three gunmen pulled up to the store in a car, according to proprietor Muneshwar Persaud. He was absent at the time of the attack but reviewed the security footage after he was informed of the robbery at around 3:19pm.
He explained that the men were half masked and were wearing caps. He said the footage was not clear enough for him to see the faces of the robbers. He did, however, believe that one of the men had an AK-47 rifle while the other two what appeared to be 9mm handguns. In addition, one of the men also carried a hatchet.
They spent approximately 10 to 12 minutes inside of his store.
A male employee, who was at the front of the store carrying plywood at the time the men pulled up inside of the car, said, “I see a gunman run and point the gun to me and then run inside the store. Then, another one ran inside and then the next one come and point the gun again and shout, ‘Everybody get inside! On the ground!’ And then they went to the cashier,” the man related.
He added that he could not pay attention to what they did to the cashier while inside the store because he was on the ground but he stated that shortly after spending some time in the cashier’s cage, the gunmen left.
He explained that while gunshots were not fired, the men threatened to kill everyone in the store “Them threaten fuh kill, anybody get a phone and tek it out, get shoot! Anybody move get shoot!” the young man recounted.
He said he saw three customers being robbed but could not say if any other customers were robbed.
The cashier, who was still visibly shaken, said he was counting money in the cashier’s cage when one of the gunmen came up to him and said, “Freeze! Don’t move!” before running to the entrance to the cashier’s cage.
Waving a big gun, according to the cashier, the gunman collected all the cash from inside the cash register, while another gunman went into a nearby room and collected all the cash he could and then both men left.
Another staff member said the gunmen spent their time collecting cash from the store as well as a few of about eight customers who were at the store during the time of the robbery. Another employee said it was certain that at least four customers were robbed of their handbags and items contained in their hand bags.
While Muneshwar Persaud said the police were at the scene of the crime within a few minutes after the gunmen had taken off, the speedy response did not yield any immediate arrests.
Crime Chief Leslie James said no arrests were made and pointed out that that although the business was equipped with a surveillance camera, the captured footage was blurry. He urged that businesses utilise proper surveillance cameras to increase the possibility of identifying criminals who may attack.