Cops prepping charges against Brazilians held after Lethem robbery

-attackers were locked into restaurant

Police are making the necessary preparations to institute charges against the nine Brazilian nationals who were arrested in connection with an armed robbery in the town on Tuesday.

The nine, including two women, were arrested by police between Tuesday and Wednesday after the armed attack on Dwayne’s Cell Phone and Jewellery Shop in Lethem, during which a quantity of phones and jewellery was stolen.

Commander of ‘F’ Division Ravindradat Budhram told Stabroek News yesterday that with the aid of a translator, the force has been able to obtain statements from the suspects. He noted that they are looking at instituting charges since there is enough evidence to tie the gang to the crimes, including armed robbery and possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition.

“Three of them were arrested after the robbery and identified and on Tuesday night, acting on information received, the police went to a house at Tabatinga and arrested four others where a firearm and some rounds were recovered and additional information led us to a vehicle that was used to commit the crime and in which the other two persons (suspects) were inside,” Budhram had previously explained.

Meanwhile, Maxine Buckley, the co-proprietor of the store that was robbed, is still traumatised by the attack.

Speaking to Stabroek News last night from her Bonfim home in the neighbouring Roraima state, the woman recalled three men, posing as customers, entering the shop sometime around 3 pm on Tuesday. “I didn’t know was a robbery. When they came in they looked like normal customers. They had on caps… but when I see one of them pull out his gun and they tell me to lie down on the floor, I realised was a robbery,” Buckley recalled.

She went on to explain that while she was instructed to lie on the floor, she grabbed her three- year-old son and sat in a corner of the shop “quietly.”

“One of the men come and tie up my feet, hands and mouth, while the other two were taking out the gold chains and rings and phone and putting it in their haversack…,” she said.

She further said that as two men collected the valuables from the shop, the other left and went over to the restaurant next door. During that time, the two other bandits demanded she hand over the car keys to her husband’s car, which was parked in front of the store.

The woman said she complied and handed over the keys. “When they jump in the car, the one from the restaurant run out and jumped in the car. I don’t know what happen, if they don’t know to drive or what but when they go to drive off, the car crashed into the wall…,” Buckley recounted. She added that as the men were attempting to escape, two jumped out and ran into the restaurant next door, while the other fled in another direction.

“I took off the scotch tape and loose off the rope and started to scream and the workers from the restaurant came out and began to lock up the restaurant with the two men inside. They didn’t know the men were inside but they keep it lock till police came and arrested them,” she explained.  According to Buckley, the estimated losses from the store amount to $3.7 million. Police, in a statement on the arrest of the additional suspects, had said that when ranks swooped down on the house in Tabatinga, Lethem, they were forced to seek cover since several rounds were fired at them.

“The area was cordoned and the lawmen using their tactical training subsequently gained entry into the building and arrested four persons inclusive of two females who are Brazilian nationals,” the police said.

A .38 revolver, a 9 mm magazine and forty-two live rounds of ammunition were found in the house.

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