Armed bandits, posing as customers, yesterday robbed the popular ‘White Shop’ grocery store at La Parfaite Harmonie, West Bank Demerara, from where they stole some $400,000 in cash, jewellery, and other items, before shooting one of the proprietor’s sons as they fled.
The attack occurred around 9.30am at Lot 4137 La Parfaite Harmonie, after which the bandits stuck-up a man, identified as Gary Halley, 47, and stole his car, which they used to escape. The car, PWW 1516, was later found abandoned in the area.
Up to yesterday afternoon, the police were still combing the area in search of the three bandits but no arrest had been made.
The grocery store is located in front of the home of owner Thajurdatt Narine, who was held at gunpoint along with one of his sons, Narendra Narine, as the men demanded cash and other valuables.
The bandits ordered them to go into the bottom flat of the house and not to raise any alarm. Narendra was relieved of two gold rings and a silver band he was wearing as well as three cell phones. The bandits also unearthed cash in a bedroom.
They then fled, after which the businessman and his son gave chase.
When Stabroek News visited the area yesterday, Narendra related that he was in front of the yard packing up vegetables when the three bandits showed up and asked to purchase three pounds of plantains.
He said as he turned to weigh the plantains, one of the bandits whipped out a gun and pointed it at him. At this time, his mother was in the yard and his father was in the garden. He said she managed to keep herself hidden behind a wall, while the gunmen held his father at gunpoint. “They tell we not to talk and they take we inside the house,” Narendra said.
He said while two of the bandits held them, the third stood outside the premises and kept watch.
The bandits gun-butted Narendra and his father and demanded cash and other valuables as they ransacked the house. “I did wearing some rings. He tek that off and after they tumble up the cabinet and so and they get the money they run outside and we go after them and start pelt glass bottle but they keep firing shots one after the other,” he explained.
During a large part of the attack, another son, Suraj Narine, was asleep in the upper flat of the house. He was eventually awakened by the sounds of gunshots. He later joined his father and brother as they pursued the bandits, who fired several shots in their direction. One of the bullets struck Suraj to his right foot and he had to be taken to the West Demerara Regional Hospital for treatment. He was subsequently discharged
During the men’s escape, they robbed Halley of his car as well as $20,000 and two cell phones.
The Narine family has been operating the grocery store for the past 10 years and yesterday’s attack was the first time they were robbed.