By Rae Wiltshire
Two days before they shot and robbed a vendor at his Vereeniging, Mahaica home, the bandits who carried out the attack visited the area on the pretext of doing prospecting work.
This is according to a Mahaica resident, who said the bandits scanned every section of the neighbourhood and he believed it was all done in preparation so that the robbery would have been pulled off without any hiccups.
The man said his curiosity was piqued when he saw the men taking photographs of the house that was robbed.
The vendor, Randolph Singh, 39, was shot to his leg and was relieved of $600,000 and a quantity of jewellery at his home, while two of the robbers were caught sometime after in a neighbouring village, the police said in a press release.
One relative said Singh told her he saw the car the previous night but never suspected that the men were bandits. The woman said Singh was driving his truck into his compound when four gunmen ambushed him.
They even pointed their gun at the man’s eight-year-old daughter after she tried to shut the gates, she noted.
The relative said the bandits ordered Singh to lay on the ground and they proceeded to kick him in his face. She said Singh’s face was brutalised and he now cannot open one of his eyes.
“De Mahaica police get gun but de gun na fire. They got pick-up, but de pick-up na wuk,” said the man’s father.
However, residents were alerted after one man witnessed the vicious attack and alerted the neighbourhood. Quick action and a frenetic car chase by the residents resulted in two of the bandits eventually being forced overboard in a nearby trench.
According to the resident who spoke with this newspaper about the men’s reconnaissance days before the attack, when the bandits finished robbing the house, they realised that a showdown was about to take place after they observed subtle, rapid movements. They hesitated before making a move, he said, and only two of the men entered the car. The others were the ones who managed to escape.
The resident said he and his friends were about to block the road with bicycles but decided against it. He recalled that the bandits came speeding down, with their lights off and Singh’s brother, who also lives in the area, had his car ready and was going full speed ahead. The bandits dodged the car and turned their headlights back on.
The resident said the bandits had to turn onto a smoother road because they were moving so fast that an accident was bound to occur. The man added that more than ten cars were on the road as residents gave chase. He said several shots were fired at the residents but this was not enough to deter them.
The car chase lasted for about 20 minutes before Singh’s brother bumped the bandits’ car at a sharp turn, resulting in them losing control of the vehicle and skidding into a nearby trench.
Even after the car crashed into the trench, the bandits tried to escape, the man said. However, one of the bandits had dreadlocks and was unable to conceal himself in the water. “Rasta man try a lil swim thing and them man spot he locks and pull he up,” the man said.
He said the residents and police officers went into the trench and apprehended the two thieves and they received a sound trashing by the residents.
When Stabroek News visited Mahaica, the white car was at the entrance of the police station and the glass was shattered, while mud and sand covered the interior of the car.
An unlicensed .32 Taurus revolver with two rounds and two spent shells were recovered by the police.