Police are looking for a man they believe masterminded a spate of robberies committed on Thursday night between the East Bank of Berbice and the East Canje and in which millions were taken in cash, jewellery and other valuables and one of the victims was shot in the shoulder.
Since the start of the investigation into the attacks, which were carried out on four families and a restaurant, four men have been arrested but one was released on self-bail due to insufficient evidence. One of the victims, school teacher and pastor Karmanand Ramash yesterday called for national stakeholders to address crime in the country.
In a statement on Friday, police said the robberies, which were committed by three men armed with a gun and cutlasses, began at Glasgow Housing Scheme, East Bank Berbice, where they invaded the home of Sundarjeet Seepersaud.
The attack occurred around 8:30PM and during his attempt to fight off the bandits Seepersaud, 50, was shot in the left side of his shoulder. He is currently hospitalised at the New Amsterdam Hospital.
After the men escaped from Seepersaud’s home, police said they confronted Stanley McKenzie as he was parking his car and they stole the vehicle and his phone. A police source said McKenzie’s car was used in the subsequent robberies and it was later found abandoned in the Cumberland Market street.
After carjacking McKenzie, around 9PM the bandits invaded the home of Ramash, 53, at Number 2 Village, Canje, from where they escaped with approximately $300,000 in cash and jewellery. After escaping and leaving the family in shock, the men made their way over to the Caribbean Cuisine Restaurant, where they held up the bartender and took away his phone and $20,000 before escaping. When the restaurant’s manager was approached for a comment yesterday, he declined and said he would prefer not to since it would be bad for his business.
The final target of the night was Enam Singh and his family at Canefield, East Canje, who were robbed of over three million in cash, jewellery and electronics.
Since the attack, Seepersaud’s family has not slept at home. Speaking from his hospital bed yesterday, Seepersaud recalled that he was having dinner when one of the bandits quietly walked into his home and instructed him not to make any noise. Two others followed and closed the door of the bottom flat after them.
Although he was outnumbered, Seepersaud said he attempted to fight off the bandits, which led to a scuffle with one of them. He said he took an insect spray can and hit the bandit he was fighting and then called on his son to “bring out the cutlass” because thieves were in the house.
Anita Seepersaud, the injured man’s wife, said she and her son were in a room on the bottom flat when they heard him shout. She said immediately after she heard an explosion.
A few moments after they emerged out of the room and noticed the bandits were fleeing. Only a cellular phone and a minimal amount of cash were taken.
It appeared that Seepersaud was unaware that he was shot. His wife said they were relating to neighbours what had occurred when the man noted that he was feeling numbness in the region of his shoulder and it was only when they checked that they saw he was bleeding and he fell. He was then rushed to the New Amsterdam Hospital.
Although he was shot in the shoulder, the bullet is lodged in Seepersaud’s abdomen. The results from an x-ray examination showed that the bullet is lodged under the skin. His relatives are concerned that doctors have not removed it because it is not life threatening.
Over at Number 2 Village, Ramash, 53, said he and his family had come home from a Good Friday festivity and were having a snack when the three bandits attacked. Two of them were masked while one was only partially masked. The men walked into the bottom flat of the home and ordered the members of the family to lie on the floor with their faces down.
According to Ramash, the ordeal lasted about 15 minutes, during which time the men threatened to take his grandson’s life if they did not provide more valuables. After the threat, Ramash said he told the men to go upstairs and take whatever they wanted. Though unsatisfied, the bandits eventually left after the family indicated that they had handed over all the valuables.
‘I want these men to pay’
The bandits attacked the Singh family at around 9:25PM. Sheniza Singh said she, her husband Enam and a friend were having dinner when the three men, two of whom were fully masked, entered their home. “They just appear in the house and say lie down on the floor. And one of them walk straight up to my husband and slapped him behind his head,” she recounted.
According to her, as the men asked for the cash and jewellery they showed them where the valuables were. In addition to US$14,000, Singh said the bandits escaped with an iPhone 6, worth $240,000, a Samsung Galaxy phone worth $160,000, a Samsung tablet worth $240,000 and over $300,000 in jewellery and $120,000. The devastated woman also noted that the men escaped with important documents, such as her ATM cards and her husband driver’s licence.
During the robbery, Singh noted, she was physically abused by the men, who pulled her hair, gun-butted her and cuffed and kicked her in her back as they questioned her if the jewellery was premium gold. “I know I would not get back anything but I want these men to pay… every time you close your eyes you see these men in front of you,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ramash called on stakeholders in the nation to address the current crime situation. “I believe more emphasis should been placed on the crime rather than the upcoming general elections,” he said.
He explained that it is one thing for the men to steal whatever you have worked hard to gain, but “when you have to deal with it psychologically is another thing.” The pastor explained that his grandchildren have been severely affected. Yesterday his grandson was acting out with his water gun how the bandits entered the home. His granddaughter, on the other hand, secures the home by locking the door as early as 9AM while asking other concerned members of her family if they would like for a repeat of the robbery. “I am appealing to everyone to help reduce the crime rate,” Ramash said.