Diamond shop owner traumatised after robbery

The shop where the robbery occurred

Fezeena Bacchus, the Diamond, East Bank Demerara shop owner who was assaulted and robbed of a quantity of cash and jewellery on Monday by armed bandits, remains terrified after the attack.

The visibly-shaken 20-year-old yesterday told Stabroek News that she was unable to sleep as the events keep unfolding in her mind.

Stabroek News had previously reported that Bacchus, called ‘Peaches,’ was robbed of over $600,000 in cash and gold jewellery when two armed bandits, posing as customers, launched an attack at her Section B, Block X, Diamond shop, which is situated in front her home.

The men entered under the pretext of purchasing a five-gallon bottle of water.

At the time, Bacchus was home alone since her husband was at work.

She said she was behind the counter when she noticed one of the bandits approaching the shop with an empty five-gallon water bottle. He was later joined by his accomplice.

The woman said she could recall seeing the men previously at her shop.

“…I ask he if I could look at the bottle, so he raise up the bottle and show me. So, I tell he he gah throw out the water because the bottle it dent up and them trucks don’t take it back, so he say ‘ok, no problem,’” Bacchus recounted.

She said she then gave the man a funnel to empty the water into his bottle along with the keys to the water cage. “So he collect it and he start throwing out the water and so. While he throwing out the water, the other one [his accomplice] come into the shop and he ask me fuh a big drink,” she said, while noting that the man produced a $500 note.

“So I ask he—‘Is a one litre or two litre?’ He seh one litre… now when I walk and go in the bond fuh the drink, he tell me ‘A coke right,’ suh I seh ‘yeah’ but I think he probably ask me that to hear which direction my voice did coming from,” she added.

Bacchus further related that she then gave the man his change and he returned $100 and asked for a lighter and the remainder of the change in cigarettes. After the cigarettes, he requested mints.

She said the man had her back and forth with transactions. “He keep got me coming to one side of the shop all the time. When I give he the mint and he done collect it, the other one did already done throw out the water. I done give he back he change long before the other one did done throw out the water and stuff so all that one had to do was give me back the key and funnel and cover the bottle and leave,” Bacchus noted.

She said as she approached the counter to collect back the key, one of the suspects pushed his hands and grabbed her from a hole in the counter area which is used to conduct transactions. “He push he hand and he scramble me, so I start screaming and they start saying ‘give me all the f***ing money.’ But I kind of fight up because remember they still deh on the outside but the chuck that he give me now, I fall down and I continue screaming,” she added.

The traumatised woman said at this point one of the men entered the shop through the same hole at the counter. “He jump in now and he push the gun in me mouth and he tell the next one ‘Dog jump in, I gah she hay now.’ So, the other one jump in and at the bottom of the counter we got a lil door that we does pass through good in, so he came into the shop and opened that door,” Bacchus further recounted.

She said one of the men then ordered his accomplice to take her inside the house, which is accessible from the shop. “One ah them pick me up, like he drag me up from meh hand, and while the one in front had a gun, the other one pull out a gun from in front he shirt, so he got it behind me and pushing me to go in the house now,” she said.

The men took Bacchus into her bedroom and demanded that she hand over the cash. “Them tell me ‘carry we how far the money deh” but I turn and tell them me ain’t got none and they still push and tug me,” Bacchus said while adding that she wasn’t aware that her husband had left the money for their monthly car payment.

“When I walk in the house and so, they like they did already know this house how they operate,” she added before noting that the bandits opened the door to her wardrobe, choked her and then carted off the money and jewellery. The men also managed to escape with the day’s sales from the shop.

“After he choke me, like I get blackout and like I couldn’t hear he no more and I can’t talk, he kick me and I hold on pun meh bed and when I raise up and peep through the blind, I see the two ah them running on this parapet,” she said.

The men managed to escaped but not before robbing Bhawani Balram, 40, a taxi driver from the area, who had parked in front of Bacchus’ house to make a phone call. They robbed him of $25,000 in cash, a cell phone and documents.

Bacchus’ neighbour, Leon Ramcharitar, heard her screaming during the attack and upon enquiring, he was chased up to street by the bandits.

He managed to escape and ran to a nearby house, where he informed residents of the robbery. The police were summoned.

No arrest has yet been made.

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