Masked gunmen terrorize, rob Enterprise family -one had AK-47

Two masked gunmen terrorized an Enterprise family for approximately 30 minutes early yesterday morning before making off with over $1 million worth of booty.

Police in a statement last evening said that Dr Simpson Da Silva and his family of Section ‘C’, Enterprise East Coast Demerara were robbed by two men armed with guns.

Police said investigations have revealed that Da Silva, his wife, Nicola Da Silva, and their 12-year-old daughter were confronted by the two men who had broken into the house through a window.

According to the police, the family was held at gunpoint while the men ransacked the house and took away a quantity of jewellery valued $1 million, two DVD players and three cell phones after which they escaped.

When Stabroek News visited the family shortly after 6 pm yesterday  Da Silva explained he was awake at the time of the home invasion.

“I was in bed and I heard someone push our room door open,” the man explained. “I looked around and I saw this tall figure and I thought it was our daughter but then it registered that the figure was wearing a mask so then I thought maybe she’s playing a joke.”

It was approximately 4.15am, Da Silva said, and he soon realized that the figure wasn’t his daughter when the man came pushing through the door with a large gun which, according to Da Silva, was an AK 47.

One of the men, Da Silva recalled, ordered him and his wife to lie face down on their bed with their arms stretched above then. Nicola Da Silva told this newspaper that while one of the armed men guarded them the other went into her daughter’s room.

“He touched her and tried to wake her but she only turned and said `don’t bother me’…he came back and ordered one of us to go get our daughter,” Nicola said. “I decided to go get her and tried to wake her up in as gentle a way as possible so as not to scare her.”

The woman, still shocked from the recent encounter, told this newspaper that the robber took all the valuables from her daughter’s room which included the child’s weekly allowance. With the family guarded, one of the men then set out to ransack the house.

The ransacking was done in a random fashion,  Da Silva said, doors were yanked open at will and contents thrown out as the men hunted for valuables. Da Silva reported that he pleaded with the men not to harm him and his family.

“We just thank the lord that our lives were spared and we were not harmed,” Nicola stated. “My daughter was terrified, her breathing became erratic because of her fear and for a second I thought she’d have a seizure…but we’re fine and we thank God for that,” the woman said.

Section ‘C’:
The target area

Residents of Section ‘C’ said that their neighbourhood has become a “target area” for bandits and other such attackers.

Many related that they felt unsafe in their homes and were afraid to walk the streets after it got dark.

“Last week Wednesday another family was robbed and people are stuck up on the streets at night and robbed of their cellular phones and what ever valuables they have on them at the time,” one man, who requested anonymity, explained.

Another resident explained that last Friday a strange man attempted rape a female in the area and this has injected fear into the Section ‘C’ women. This, according to many residents, is only one of several such attempts that have been made during the past two months.

“We can’t walk after dark…we locking up our houses and we’re still afraid that people will get it…these attackers are coming from neighbouring villages and maybe even far off places and at this point we are fed up,” the resident said.

Section ‘C’ has a Neighbourhood Policing Group, residents explained, but it has almost no effect on the crimes that have been occurring in the area. Further, residents said that the Vigilance Police Station is closest and despite the many reports that have been made there the police are still not patrolling the area.

“Imagine these robbers are coming and staking out along the dark ends of the streets armed with toy guns and they’re robbing us,” one woman who has been a victim said.

The main/front road of Section ‘C’ Enterprise, residents reported, is the “hotspot” for such crimes. According to them, the front road leads to the seawall and the lighting there is poor. This newspaper observed last evening that the northern end of the main/front road was indeed dark.

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