Nine gunmen operating from a canter truck yesterday afternoon ambushed and robbed cambio dealer Roy Sarjoo of close to $4.3M before beating him during a 15-minute spree on the busy Third Avenue and Church Road, Subryanville as children from nearby Mae’s School left for home.
The police response to the crime was slow and the bandits made good their escape south on Church Road and onto David Street, Kitty before disappearing. Up to press time last night the police had not caught up with the criminals who were all armed with handguns and wore no masks.
In a statement last evening the police said that around 3:15 pm Sarjoo, 36 years, of A&N Sarjoo Cambio of America Street, Georgetown was attacked and robbed by nine men, all armed with handguns. According to the police, investigations revealed that Sarjoo, his eight-year-old daughter and Mohamed Raza, an employee, were travelling in the cambio dealer’s motor car along Third Avenue when he observed a white canter truck blocking his path ahead at Church Road. He became suspicious and attempted to turn around, but the armed men jumped off the canter truck and rushed toward his vehicle, the police statement said. It added that the bandits held Sarjoo and Raza at gunpoint and took away the cambio dealer’s licensed 9mm pistol with 17 rounds, along with $1.5M and US$14,000 ($2,848,300) and a bag in the vehicle and escaped in the canter truck.
A large crowd converged on the scene of the robbery minutes after and parents of children attending Mae’s quickly rushed to the school to escort them home. Speaking to Stabroek News at the scene, Sarjoo, whose father was gunned down a few years ago by bandits at his Water Street cambio, said that he had just picked up his daughter from Mae’s and was heading west along Third Avenue when the bandits’ canter truck came up on Church Road and blocked his path at the intersection. Sarjoo said he tried desperately to reverse his vehicle as some of the bandits jumped out of the truck and ran to his car. His vehicle ended up precariously perched over a trench. He was then dragged from the vehicle along with his daughter and one of his workers. Placing him to lie on the ground, Sarjoo said the gunmen relieved him of his firearm and ran through his pockets, collecting a sum of cash which he could not quantify. Realising that Sarjoo did not have the amount of cash they were after the gunmen attacked his worker who was holding a bag containing local and foreign currency. The bandits relieved the worker of the bag and while still on the ground Sarjoo said he made an attempt to wrestle with one of the gunmen who then threatened to shoot his daughter.
After collecting the bag from Sarjoo’s worker the bandits ransacked the vehicle, lifting up floor mats and checking all of the drawers. They then climbed back into their canter truck, some of them sitting in the tray of the vehicle, and sped away. A businessman in the area said he was the only person who responded when the bandits left, firing a couple of shots behind them, but none connected.
The businessman said that he saw when Sarjoo was cornered by the gunmen at the junction of Third Avenue and Church Road, noting that there was little the cambio dealer could have done at the time. “There were a lot of people in the street but nobody responded,” the businessman lamented.
Noting that the gunmen were clever enough to use a canter truck to carry out their attack, the businessman said citizens had to be more alert. “They are coming in all form and fashion,” the businessman commented. Asked whether he thought he was being trailed, Sarjoo replied in the affirmative and vowed to defend himself the next time. “This will never happen again,” Sarjoo said in defiance.
Back in 1998 a large gang of gunmen had robbed and murdered Roy Sarjoo’s father, Neville Sarjoo.