Bandits storm Uitvlugt store

-escape with $1M in cash, jewels

A family of four was last night attacked by four armed bandits who robbed them of an estimated $980,000 in cash and jewellery at their Ocean View, Uitvlugt home and general store.

According to proprietor, Ritchie Ranglall, at around 8:20pm he and his two daughters along with their handyman were seated on a bench outside their Ritchie and Daughters General Store, when they were approached by four men brandishing guns. The man related that one of the men took him, his daughters and his wife Vijyantie in through the shop and into the downstairs of the house, where they were held hostage, while two others went upstairs and searched for valuables. The fourth man kept watch outside and warded off anyone who dared go near the shop [his youngest daughter’s scream had alerted neighbours], Ritchie related. Finding that there wasn’t much to be found upstairs, the men then searched a drawer in the shop where they uncovered some twenty and hundred dollar bills, which amounted to about $60,000. They then proceeded to strip the proprietor and his family of their valuables, which included a diamond ring from his eldest daughter and other jewellery. Ritchie also explained that the men took $20,000 that he had in the store to pay his light bill, and they even proceeded to take the bill itself, but he pleaded with them not to. Apart from the cash and jewellery the men also broke into a glass case and took sixty cellular phones. Felisha, the younger daughter also divulged that one of the bandits subsequently received a phone call, and after hanging up, he escorted them all into the bathroom, where they locked themselves in for fear of their lives.

After securing their captives in the bathroom and taking all that they could get, the four men then made good their escape. Thinking on their feet, Ritchie’s eldest daughter Anjie and his handyman Darmindra quickly followed the men to see in which direction they went, and found that they’d gone towards the nearby seawall. No shots were fired neither was anyone injured during the incident.

It is believed that the men arrived and left via speedboat, as some neighbours reported hearing a boat engine. The Leonora police were soon alerted and, this newspaper understands that having heard that the men went towards the sea, ranks took the Stewart-ville seawall road in pursuit. Their search however came up blank, and the men escaped. The arrival of the other ranks was however detained by a broken bridge and a bad road, leading to the family’s Lot 57 Third Street, Ocean View, Uitvlugt residence.

Although neither he nor his family had ever before seen the bandits [who wore no masks], Ritchie explained that one of the ranks related to him of having seen a man, fitting the description of one of the bandits, lurking around the area lately. This is the second time the family has been robbed, the first time being at Vreed-en-Hoop where they once owned a business.

Meanwhile, Ritchie and his family, along with other residents in the area are complaining about the condition of the bridge which is inaccessible and which detained the police’s arrival on the scene. Ritchie’s wife related that since January they were promised by the government that the bridge would be fixed but up to now there has been no progress. Persons wishing to gain access into the main commercial street and community are now forced to drive all the way around to another bridge some distance away, then turn around and head in the direction they came from, all in fifteen minutes instead of a few, residents explained. According to one resident Abdul Latif, he has spoken to both the Regional Chairman and President Bharrat Jagdeo about the situation, and both promised to organize a new bridge but up to now there has been no progress.

Last night’s attack was the second major one on the West Demerara in days. On Saturday evening, nine armed bandits stormed a Goed Fortuin business and fled with $1M and various other items.