Cops seeking source of guns used in foiled bank heist

Dead: Elton Wray

The police were up to last evening working to determine how the men who plotted and carried out last Tuesday’s attempted robbery on Republic Bank’s Water Street branch sourced their weapons.

This is according to Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum, who told Stabroek News that so far there has been speculation that one of the five suspects in custody provided the weapons to the group.

“…One of the suspects is claiming that it’s Haynes, while another is saying that it’s one of the police ranks in custody,” Blanhum said.

While the alleged mastermind of the foiled attempt, Elton Wray, also known as ‘Peas,’ 25, of Eccles, East Bank Demerara, was shot dead while trying to escape after a shootout with guards, five persons are in custody.

Dead: Elton Wray

They include bank employee Jamal Haynes and Keron Saunders, who accompanied Wray during the attack. Police have also arrested two of their own ranks and another bank employee, who have been linked to the crime.

Wray, Haynes and Saunders, all wearing masks, stormed the bank around 7.35 am on Tuesday. They used one of the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) rooms to gain entry to the adjoining ground floor of the bank as employees were entering the building. The bank was not yet open for business.

Once there, they reportedly ran towards an area where there were canisters but they discovered that they were empty. Because the men opened fire, members of the Professional Guard Service (PGS), which protects the bank, responded promptly, and engaged them.

Jamal Haynes

Bank workers were taken as hostages during the bandits’ attempts to flee but none of them were harmed.

Wray was shot once in his chest by a guard while trying to escape and was later pronounced dead on arrival at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH), where he was taken for treatment.

Haynes, said to be Wray’s best friend, was shot in both of his legs and was admitted as a patient at the GPH under police guard. Saunders was taken to the Criminal Investigation Department at Eve Leary.

Stabroek News was previously informed that the police were able to make a breakthrough in the investigation on Thursday evening following the arrest of a policeman attached to ‘A’ Division and a rural constable, both 21, and residents of the Lodge area.

Haynes, this newspaper was told, contacted the rural constable, who is a close friend, and told him about the plan to rob the bank. The rural constable then contacted the police constable and both of them agreed to go along with the others to rob the bank.

Keron Saunders

On Monday night, the duo reportedly met Haynes and Wray in the vicinity of the National Cultural Centre, where they went over their plan. The following morning, they met at an Aubrey Barker Road location, where they are reported to have once more gone over their plan before proceeding to a South Ruimveldt location, where they boarded a hijacked car.

The newspaper was told that they then went to a location in Tiger Bay. From there, Haynes, Wray and Saunders were transported by the police constable in the stolen car to Water Street, near the Vendors’ Arcade. The rural constable remained in Tiger Bay.

Stabroek News was told that after dropping the others off, the policeman parked the car behind the Vendors’ Arcade and remained there. However, on hearing gunshots and sensing that the plan had gone wrong, he fled, leaving the car abandoned.

Stabroek News understands that the rural constable was alerted to the shootout and he too abandoned the plan and left the Tiger Bay location.

It would appear that the plan was that after grabbing the money from the bank, the three gunmen would run through the arcade, jump into the car and return to Tiger Bay. Once there they were to split up the money and go their separate ways.

Blanhum had said that on Thursday, the police were granted an extension to detain the two other    suspects, Haynes and Saunders.

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