(Trinidad Guardian) Praising the police for killing two robbers and recovering over $200,000 in stolen loot, Couva jewellers Anna and Lakhram Parriag yesterday expressed satisfaction that some of the “pests” who had been terrorising them were dead.
The Parriags had been robbed countless times since they went into business 25 years ago. Although they sold jewellery, the couple chose not to wear any jewellery except blessed necklaces in fear of robbers. Since they opened Tiana’s Jewellery along the Southern Main Road in Couva, Anna said they had been robbed once at gunpoint and burglarised on two separate occasions within the past three years.
With a hefty mortgage to pay, they had no choice but to continue their business but installed every possible anti-theft device, including sensors, alarms, burglar proofing and a Vigilance system. Police said were it not for these devices the robbers’ heist would have been successful.
In an interview with Guardian Media, Anna said around 5 am yesterday the breaker sensor on the front door went off. The place had been boarded up for Carnival and Anna said when the sensor tripped they did not know if anything was wrong. Fifteen minutes later, the second alarm went off and the Vigilance monitoring system kicked in. A Vigilance surveillance team called the police.
“Around 5.30 am my landlord called me to say there were bandits in the premises. They called the police and when we got here we couldn’t enter because the bandits were on the premises. Police called for backup and they ended up searching the place and found bandits in the washroom. There was a confrontation and they were shot and killed,” Anna recalled.
Police said the alleged bandits tried to shoot their way out and were killed when the police returned fire.
Saying she felt a sense of satisfaction and victory that the thieves were dead, Anna said, “Too many times they terrorise law-abiding citizens. They are like pests. I feel that people need to look after themselves. That is all we can do and the police did their part.”
The distraught business owner said she stopped doing business in a nearby mall and took the chance to rent a spot on the Main Road in 2016.
“When I left the mall I was worried about robbers. It is not nice what we go through every day. I live a simple life. We walk on eggshells every day trying to make an honest day’s work and the robbers make it hard for us. They think we have plenty of money because we own a jewel shop but they do not know our debts,” she said.
Saying she was hard-working and thrifty, Anna said she came from poverty and worked her way up towards finally owning a house which she was still paying for.
“Sometimes I feel to sell everything and leave here but I cannot because I have the mortgage,” she said.
She expressed gratitude to the Couva police and Police Commissioner Gary Griffith for taking charge of the crime wave. She also urged parents to take charge of their children and instil sound morals and values.
“As a parent, I hate what has happened but as a business owner, it’s good. I have children too. We need to instil values into our young ones. Something wrong with these young people. Crime doesn’t pay. It is a temporary gratification,” she said.
Speaking directly to criminals, Anna said, “One day for the police, one day for the thief. You will be caught.”
Lakhram Parriag also expressed thanks to the police, saying they should be rewarded for putting their lives in danger to protect others.
Police believe the two bandits, identified as Kevon Simmons, 16, and Curtis “Dumb Dumb” James, 23, were responsible for a string of robberies. A gun and a knapsack containing the gold and silver jewellery, including watches, were recovered.