Masked bandits rob, beat Miss Phoebe jeweller, son

Three masked bandits, armed with a gun and two cutlasses, terrorized a jeweller and his two-year-old son at Miss Phoebe, Port Mourant, Corentyne and robbed him of almost $2M in cash and jewellery around 8 pm on Wednesday.

Ameer Yakim, 33, told Stabroek News yesterday that he was severely beaten on his neck and back while the toddler sustained a gash on his head. They were both taken to the Port Mourant Hospital where they were treated with the child receiving stitches.

He said the bandits took $1.2M worth in jewellery belonging to his family and another set valued $300,000 he had for his customers. They also carted off one ounce of raw gold costing $100,000 and $300,000 cash.

Recounting what happened, Yakim said he and his family had just returned from the Bloomfield mosque and the bandits pounced on them “as soon as I opened the lock on the gate. One of them pointed a gun to me and tell me to ‘hands up’!”

He said he ran towards his family and the bandits fired a shot in the air. His wife, Fiza and the two older children, aged nine and 12, continued running to the back of the yard and hid under a tree.

Yakim recalled that he screamed for his father who lives next door and his father responded by shouting “thief! Thief! This angered the bandits and they fired a shot at his house.

The bullet pierced a glass window, shattering it and they warned him that if he made any more noise they would shoot him. The man who suffers from hypertension immediately turned off his lights and remained quiet.

In the meantime Yakim attempted to jump the fence with his two-year-old son in his hand but the bandits grabbed him behind his neck and told him “is you we want!” They then compelled him to go upstairs while hitting him and somehow the baby was left at the bottom of the stairs crying.

The bandits demanded that he tell them where the “gold” was and he complied. They then pushed him through a trap door leading to the bottom flat, pointing a gun at him while following him.

Yakim said after he showed them a black bag containing the jewellery the bandits ordered him to lie on the floor and disconnected the phone line. One kept hitting him on his back with the cutlass causing him to “tremble” in pain.

While all this was happening, a bandit was out on the street with a gun keeping watch. Another bandit, apparently fed-up by the child’s constant crying, brought him close to his father and he [the child] calmed down.

They asked for the money and at first Yakim responded that he did not have any. A bandit who commanded him to keep his eyes down threatened to shoot him if he did not comply.

At that stage he told them where the money and raw gold were kept.

After stashing their booty the bandits escaped towards the cane-field.

After the bandits left the two-year-old said his head was hurting and his parents discovered the wound.

Yakim was pleased that the police arrived at the scene within 10 minutes but said by then the robbers were nowhere in sight. Police said in a release that they recovered three 12-gauge spent cartridges.

No arrests have been made so far.

A few months ago bandits attempted to rob Yakim but they ended up escaping in the cane-fields after he raised an alarm and residents ran out.

In that incident he had also just returned from the mosque and was about to close the gate when the bandits ordered him to “hands up!”

Instead he started to run and hollered for his father.

The bandits attempted to follow him while pointing a gun at him but he outran them and by then the residents ran out and the bandits abandoned their plans.

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