Cops seeking owner of car involved in attempted robbery at Republic Bank

– had been jailed in absentia on gun, ammo charges

Elton Wray

An arrest warrant was issued last year for the man suspected to have driven the car used in the attempted heist at the Republic Bank, Water Street on Tuesday morning, after he was sentenced in absentia to four years’ imprisonment for the unlawful possession of firearm and ammunition.

Stabroek News understands that this information was uncovered yesterday by the police after they checked their records.

Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum yesterday confirmed that the man, whose name was not disclosed, was charged with the offence following the discovery of a firearm and a quantity of ammunition at a house in Coldigen, East Coast Demerara last April.

Blanhum said the man was subsequently sentenced to four years’ imprisonment after he failed to turn up during the court proceedings and an arrest warrant was issued for him.

It is suspected that he is the owner of the car which transported the men to the scene. That car was reported to have been hijacked on Sunday evening at Goedverwagting, East Coast Demerara.

Following the incident on Tuesday, the car was found abandoned in the vicinity of John Fernandes Wharf. Investigators believe the men’s plan was for the driver of the car to drop them at the scene and wait for them behind the arcade.

An agronomist, Elton Wray, was shot dead and two of his accomplices – Jamal Haynes, 24, of Norton Street, Georgetown and Keron Saunders – were captured on Tuesday morning during a shootout with guards and police after they attempted to rob the bank.

Wray also known as ‘Peas’, 25, of Eccles, East Bank Demerara, was attached to the National Agricultural and Research Extension Institute. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH), where he was taken for treatment.

Haynes was shot twice to his legs and was also taken to the GPH where he was admitted and discharged yesterday afternoon. Following his discharge, he was escorted to the Criminal Investigations Department Headquarters, Eve Leary where he and Saunders remain in custody. They both have been cooperating with the police.

Wray, the son of a senior immigration officer, had recently returned to Guyana after completing his studies in China on a scholarship.

Hours after the incident, a tightly secured Nissan Duke car belonging to Wray was found parked in the lot of a fast food outlet in South Ruimveldt. The vehicle was reportedly impounded by the police.

During the attack which occurred around 7.53 am, two of the gunmen held two employees of the bank as hostages during their attempt to flee. However, neither employee was harmed.

Stabroek News was previously informed that the gunmen used one of the Automated Teller Machine rooms to gain entry to the adjoining ground floor of the bank as employees were entering the building.

Once inside, they reportedly ran toward an area where there were canisters but discovered that they were empty. Because the men opened fire, members of the Professional Guard Service (PGS), which guards the bank, took up positions and engaged the gunmen.

The gunmen appeared to have panicked. Wray attempted to escape by running towards the new vendors’ arcade area. He was pursued by a guard and was shot.

Haynes, on the other hand, held a male teller hostage and ran to a cafeteria located behind the arcade. Once there, he shed a black outfit, a wig and a mask he had been wearing and pretended to be a cook. However, persons in the area raised an alarm and he was shot and apprehended.

Saunders, who was left in the building, also emerged with a hostage but he was subdued and arrested.

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