Suspect held after $10M Puruni gold raid

Hours after teaming up with two other men to rob a Lower Mazaruni mining camp of more than $10M in raw gold a gunman went to a nearby landing for a few drinks. It was there that citizens identified and apprehended him.

The gunman and another man, who told police that he “unknowingly” escorted the three robbers to the Puruni mining camp, are in police custody assisting with investigations. Up to press time last night police were still hunting for the other two perpetrators.

One of the two perpetrators still on the run, this newspaper learnt, is wounded. The man, according to reports, shot himself in the leg while trying to break into a safe. The wounded robber, Commander of Police E & F Division Assistant Commissioner David Ramnarine said, is known.

Ramnarine further told this newspaper last evening that the robbery occurred some time between 9 and 9.30 am on Saturday. Three gunmen, according to him, attacked and raided the mining camp.

At the time of the attack the camp’s General Manager and two other employees were present. During the attack, Ramnarine said, the manager was assaulted by the men. He has since been taken to the Bartica hospital for medical attention.

It was reported that the attackers escaped with more than 50 ounces of gold which has a street value in excess of $10M. After raiding the camp, Ramnarine said, the men discharged shots which sent other employees present a short distance away scampering.

However, after some time had passed the workers regrouped, Ramnarine said, and started to search the area. The group eventually made their way to the Puruni Landing, and it was there that one worker was able to identify the perpetrator who was drinking at a shop.

“One of the workers was able to positively identify this man [the perpetrator at the landing] from the attack and also said that he knew the man from previous meetings at the same camp,” the assistant commissioner reported.

It was a former senior police officer, Ramnarine said, that contacted police and said that she had heard about a robbery. This was later confirmed, the owner of the camp informed and it was he who provided police with an ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) to travel to the location. Ramnarine also said that the ATV which was used to take the perpetrators to the camp is also in police custody.

The closest police station to Puruni, Ramnarine explained, is the one at Bartica. It took police about three hours to journey to the area.

It was due to the cooperation of citizens, the commander said, that police were able to respond to the report as fast as they did.

Ramnarine lauded the efforts of all those who were involved in apprehending the perpetrator at Puruni Landing and those citizens who have provided police with transportation assistance in many instances.

Because of the lack of resources and the vast E & F Division, Ramnarine said, police have been unable to respond to reports in as efficient a manner as they would like.

It is important, he said, for residents to team up with police and offer as much help as they can when it comes to fighting crime in this division.

The action of citizens in Puruni over the weekend, he said, is an example which should be followed by all.

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