GEB guards in custody after failed armoured car hold-up

The GEB Security Service has launched an internal probe into an attempted robbery outside the company’s Providence, East Bank Demerara headquarters on Monday even as three employees are being interrogated by police.

Guard Keith McLean, 62, was shot during the incident while another guard was relieved of his weapon.
Police, in a press release last evening, said McLean, 62, of Middle Road La Penitence, Georgetown, was with three other security guards outside the GEB Headquarters at Providence, when they were attacked by four men. Three of their attackers had firearms.

“The GEB security guards were around a motor vehicle which contained cash being escorted when the armed men approached and one of them held on to one of the security guards and took away his .38 pistol,” police said.

On seeing what was taking place, McLean responded and was shot in his left thigh by the perpetrators, who escaped in a waiting motor car.

Meanwhile a senior police officer told this newspaper that three guards are being interrogated about the incident, since investigators believed that there was some amount of collusion. Up to late yesterday afternoon, the three guards were still being questioned.

Suspicions
GEB’s Managing Director Maurice Amres said yesterday that the incident has aroused suspicions.
During a telephone interview, he told Stabroek News that prior to the incident, a crew of GEB guards picked up some cash from a client who instructed that it be taken to a city bank. Afterward, the crew was to return to make a second bank delivery.

According to Amres, the crew captain made the decision to return to headquarters and await the call for the second set as opposed to making a trip to the bank. The armoured vehicle was not driven into the compound but was left parked near the entrance to the back gate.

Amres said that a suspicious yellow car was parked in a side street near the back entrance and the driver was standing nearby. Three men, he said, who were passengers of the car, walked about “30, 40, 50 yards or something like that” to where the guards were and pointed a gun at the driver of the GEB vehicle, ordering him to stay still and lie down.

McLean, he stated, drew his weapon and was shot by one of the gunmen.
It was a female guard who raised an alarm. According to Amres, the woman was returning to the base and on seeing what was transpiring, she shouted to the duty officer to call for back up. The bandits fled the area shortly after.

Speaking on the country’s security situation, Amres told Stabroek News that the company had told their clients that at Christmas time, crime is likely to increase by 50%. “The criminals want to have a happy Christmas and people have to be on high alert. People take risks to commit crimes,” he noted.

Amres said that attacking armed persons (such as security guards) is a risk and when this is done, there “may be an element of desperation.” He noted that often criminals have inside information and it is based on this information that they commit robberies. “We are pursuing all angles in this situation,” he said adding that the company is taking all the necessary precautions that weren’t taken before.
He stated that the company is making arrangements to improve its standards.

Weapons
Meanwhile, the wounded Mc Lean told this newspaper from his hospital bed yesterday afternoon that he believed the gunmen were after their weapons.

McLean explained that the three men attempted to confiscate the weapon that the driver of the GEB vehicle was carrying.

“We were at the office outside at the back,” Mc Lean recounted. He said he, the driver and two other security guards were “waiting for a call.”

As they waited, McLean recalled, three men who he suspected to be in their 20s, approached. The driver, who was standing outside the vehicle, was the first to be assaulted by the men. He said that one of the men wore a jacket, which had a hood covering his face.

After sticking up the truck, the men demanded their weapons, McLean said. A gun fight soon ensued and McLean was shot. The bullet entered his upper thigh and is lodged in his hip.

McLean said that of the 18 years he was on the job, he never had an encounter like Monday’s but pointed out that as a guard, “You does gah expect these things.”

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