Brazilian national robb Lethem store

A Brazilian national, who police say robbed the same Lethem store twice in a month’s time, was remanded to prison after denying multiple charges of armed robbery yesterday.

It is alleged that Paulo Silva, on December 4, 2013, at Pacifico General Store, on Barrack Retreat Street,  armed with a gun, robbed Zhon Sheng of a cellphone valued at $85,000, and a laptop valued at $180,000. It was further alleged that on the same day, at the same store, armed with a gun, he robbed the store of $70,000 Brazilian currency, the equivalent of $7M; US$1,700, the equivalent of GYD$340,000; $3M and 60 wrist watches valued at $1M, all the property of Zhon Sheng and Yon Fatt Chong. It was also alleged that Silva, armed with a gun, stole US$130, the equivalent of GYD$62,000; $240 Surinamese dollars, the equivalent of $16,000; and $400,000, all the property of Yon Fatt Chong. It is also alleged that, on February 5, Silva attempted to rob Yon Fatt Chong a second time, however an alarm was raised and the police apprehended him.

Prosecutor Michael Grant said that on December 4, 2013, at 19:30hrs, the victims were at the store when Silva, along with others, entered, tied them up and robbed them before making good their escape.

Grant further stated that on February 5, Silva allegedly entered the store and tied up the victims, however, a cry for help was heard by public-spirited citizens, who eventually rescued the bounded men. Acting on information, Grant added, police intercepted Silva at the Guyana-Brazil border. He was positively identified by the victims as the person who robbed them on December 4, 2013, the prosecutor said.

Grant objected to bail, citing the nature and gravity of the charges, the prevalence of the offence, and the fact that a gun was used during the robbery. He added that Silva is a flight risk, and may flea the jurisdiction since he was making his way to Brazil when he was apprehended.

Silva’s lawyer, Peter Hugh, in a failed effort to secure bail, told the court that nothing was found in his client’s possession, and he declared that his client was arrested while walking over to Brazil. He tried to persuade Chief Magistrate Priya-Sewnarine-Beharry that the prevalence of the offence raised in the objection was without merit, mentioning the scarcity of robberies in Lethem so far for 2014.

But the magistrate said that she was not satisfied that Silva would return to court if released and remanded him to prison. The case was transferred to the Lethem Magistrate’s Court, where it will be called on March 3.

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