Trinidad: After heist foiled, all items recovered

Jewellers thank cops for effort

Tiana Parriag sifts through a pile of jewellery recovered by police following a heist at their Couva business place in which two robbers were shot dead, yesterday.

(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.

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