In the wake of a spate of carjackings in recent weeks, the Guyana Police Force (GPF) is planning a massive countrywide operation in an effort to dismantle what appears to be a “ring”.
Crime Chief (ag) Paul Williams recently said that in light of the increase in carjackings, the police will be mobilizing a joint team to conduct a massive operation across the country. “We are going to deal with these matters very seriously and robustly because these cars are going somewhere and we have to find out who are encouraging it because if there weren’t markets they would not have been sold”, Williams said.
Williams explained that statistics have shown that the Toyota Premio and Toyota Allion models are the most targeted vehicles. However, while this might be the case, he said “…we cannot rule out to say that they would not come after other vehicles because what I see is that these are persons that are just moving around awaiting for opportunity to strike”.
The GPF had previously warned the public, specifically taxi drivers operating the Toyota Allion and Toyota Premio models, to be on the alert for potential hijackers.
The modus operandi, the police have observed, is for persons to hire cabs around Georgetown for destinations such as North Ruimveldt, Georgetown; Atlantic Ville, East Coast Demerara; Providence, East Bank Demerara; and West Demerara and then rob the drivers of their personal belongings and their taxis upon arrival at the requested destination.
The acting Crime Chief is therefore urging persons to be alert and to observe their environments. “We want you to be sensible and to exercise that sense of security for yourself. The police may not be there at the time but once we can be in a proactive mode to prevent this, this is what we will do”, he stated.
During last week, Commander of `A’ Division, Marlon Chapman had vowed that the gang behind these attacks will be dismantled.
Williams said the police have been looking at several theories. “There are so many things that we are taking into consideration because it is something we are very concerned about”, he said.
“There are so many factors to be considered, one there is likely to be a carjacking ring but then what is the motive behind the carjacking? Is it that dealers are sending back people to retrieve these cars from people that owe them? Is it indeed that these cars that are being hijacked are those that are no longer allowed to be imported because of the restrictions now being implemented by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and as a result of that those vehicles are now being dismantled for spare parts? The next thing is whether people are staging their own hijacks because they want to claim money from the insurance companies”, Williams postulated.
Williams had previously said that the police will also zoom in on body workshops since they are suspected to be the buyers of the stolen vehicles parts.
He had noted that the police force has collaborated with several other agencies and the owners will now have to meet certain requirements before they can operate the workshops.
“What we have recognised too is that the cars that are being hijacked or stolen now are the cars that find themselves outside of the GRA (Guyana Revenue Authority) stipulated requirement ”, he had said.
One of the most recent cases occurred last Sunday when an armed bandit confronted a Diamond, East Bank Demerara woman and relieved her of her motor vehicle; a blue Spacio PVV 9496 with her niece sleeping inside.
Samantha Williams was opening the gates to her premises when she was confronted by the gunman, who later drove off with her vehicle.
After alerting the man that her niece was sleeping in the back seat, the man stopped about two houses away to let her out before fleeing with the vehicle.
Rajesh Lilman, a 27-year-old businessman experienced a similar ordeal on December 10, when he was held at gunpoint and robbed of his Toyota Allion motorcar, PVV 8590 as he was about to enter his Westminster, West Bank Demerara premises.
Lilman had just returned home and opened the gate to park his car in the yard. Upon returning to the vehicle, he was accosted by two bandits, one of whom was armed with a handgun. The men held him at gunpoint and relieved him of his car keys before escaping.
A few days later, Gary Samaroo, a construction worker was robbed of his Toyota Premio motorcar PRR 8905 and assaulted by a lone gunman shortly after arriving at his brother’s East Street, Georgetown premises.
The Ogle, East Coast Demerara man had said that as is customary every day, he was going over to visit his brother at his East Street house when he was attacked just after parking the car.
Then on November 28, gun-toting bandits robbed former reporter, Nadine Luthers-Williams of her car and other valuables, moments after she and a friend arrived at a popular night spot in Kitty, Georgetown to hang out.
The incident had occurred outside of the Night Cap restaurant located on Pere Street, Kitty and the men managed to escape with a Toyota Allion motor car, PVV 4879.
In other instances, three taxi drivers were robbed of their cars by persons posing as passengers. In one case, one of the drivers was shot and injured.
On December 15, Dellon Skellekie, a 30-year-old taxi driver was relieved of his Toyota Spacio motorcar, PVV 9742 valued $2.5M, $12,000 cash and important documents including his driver’s licence and national ID card at Diamond, East Bank Demerara by a man and woman posing at customers.
Stabroek News was told that the suspects approached Skellekie at the Diamond car park where he plies his trade and requested to go to Third Avenue, Diamond Housing Scheme. The man sat in the front passenger seat while his accomplice sat at the back. Upon reaching their destination, the man whipped out a handgun from his pants waist and gun butted Skellekie to his head, ordering him to exit the vehicle.
This incident occurred, days after a couple, posing as passengers, robbed Albert Hunte, a 65-year-old taxi driver of his Toyota Corolla Fielder station wagon, HC 6999, a cell phone and a quantity of cash at Flamboyant Street, Eccles, East Bank Demerara.
Reports had revealed that Hunte was at the Stabroek Market car park when he received a phone call from a private number. The caller, a woman, requested a taxi at Regent Street and Orange Walk, Bourda. Upon arriving at the location, Hunte picked up the woman and a man and they requested to be taken to Eccles.
Once they arrived there, the male suspect, who was seated in the front passenger seat, exited the car and approached Hunte, holding him at gunpoint and demanding that he exit the vehicle. Hunte complied and the gunman drove away with the car, with his female accomplice seated in the back seat.
And on November 25, another taxi driver Phillip King of Festival City, North Ruimveldt, Georgetown was shot during a carjacking in D’Urban Backlands, where he was lured by two women who hired him.
King, who operates in front of Demico House, was hired by two women to go to Mocha Road, D’Urban Backlands, on the pretext of picking up a male friend.
However, upon their arrival, the male friend whipped out a handgun and forced King out of his silver grey Premio, HC 6296.
While the apprehending of the perpetrators of these crimes has been very low, Williams said the police had arrested three persons on separate occasions; two on the East Coast and one at West Demerara.
One of the men, he said is suspected to be a part of a carjacking ring.