Armed bandits beat, rob Crane family
Over $1.5M taken

By Leonard Gildarie
Stabroek News
July 25, 2000

More than $1.5 million in cash and jewellery were taken from a Stabroek Market stallholder when five armed, masked bandits invaded his home on Sunday night, terrorising his family for half an hour.

Displaying a huge welt under the left eye where he had been beaten, 60-year-old Naraine `Palad' Seenaraine of `B' Crane, West Coast Demerara, said that the attack by the bandits was the second one in three weeks. On the first occasion, the bandits disguised themselves as policemen and attempted to enter the home, he said. But an alarm was raised and the men escaped.

Stabroek News caught up with Seenaraine and his wife Bhanmattie, 55, yesterday at the West Demerara Regional Hospital where they were being treated for the beatings they received at the hands of the bandits.

Seenaraine, who uses his home as a bond as well, told this newspaper that the attack occurred shortly after 1800 hrs, while he was making preparations to wash his pick-up truck.

He said the family had only just returned from a relative's wedding, when he heard voices and saw a masked man carrying a "long gun scale the front fence." He saw two more figures, dressed similarly, also jump over the wall. Seenaraine and Bhanmattie occupy the home along with their adopted daughter, ten-year-old Kavita.

He said that he immediately ran into the downstairs kitchen and slammed and barred the two doors. He said he "hollered" for his wife to lock the upstairs front door. However, by then, Seenaraine said, one of the masked figures was in the kitchen having entered from the inside steps leading from upstairs. He said that he and Kavita were herded upstairs. There he saw his wife on the ground and one of the men "scotch-taping" her mouth.

Bhanmattie said that she had just finished picking up clothes from downstairs and was about to fold them when she heard the alarm raised by her husband. She said that she immediately ran to the front door and managed to slam it shut. However, the door was kicked open and three men, masked and armed, barged into the home.

The woman, who also works with her husband at the grocery stall, said that one of the men grabbed her and "dashed" her to the ground. He punched her several times in the abdomen and she lost consciousness.

When she came to, one of the men was taping her mouth. Kavita was ordered to lie on her chest and they were covered with a sheet.

The men, who kept demanding money and jewellery, asked where the switch was for the veranda light. Kavita said that she "showed" them where it was and "told them" to take off the light themselves.

Seenaraine said that the men ordered him to remove his rings and they also took those which his wife was wearing. "My only concern was with meh wife and Kavita so I tell them that the other jewellery were in the bedroom."

Two of the bandits went downstairs in the direction of the kitchen while one went into the bedroom where the jewellery was taking Seenaraine with him. Another man was keeping guard at the upstairs front door.

"He throw me on the bed and keep on asking wheh de money deh," Seenaraine said. The bandit ripped open several boxes that were in the bedroom. "I told him that I had no money but he keep cuffing me leg hard..." The businessman said that he told the bandit he had been robbed three weeks before and all his money was taken. But the bandit said: "Yo liar, no thief man ain't tek nothing." The businessman, after being hit repeatedly, was forced to finally tell the man that his stall money was on the ledge. The bandit left the room shortly after. Seenaraine said that he followed him and saw three of the bandits go through the front door and jump over the fence. They headed in the direction of Best Village.

The businessman disclosed that he later learnt that the men escaped in a red car that had been seen in the area several times.

The Seenaraines said that they were considering selling everything and going to live abroad. "It doesn't mek sense. We owe so much people money and them come and take yo lil money."

This newspaper understands that the police arrived shortly after the matter was reported and several persons from the surrounding areas were taken into custody.

There was a heavy police presence, including forces from Georgetown, in the area throughout the rest of the night.

Sunday's robbery follows closely on the heels of Saturday's at the South Ruimveldt Shopping Plaza when armed bandits shot and killed the manager of a fish export business, Nandalall Kirpaul before escaping with over $1 million.

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