Bandits invade home via roof
Terrorise family; grab over $200,000, jewels By Oscar P. Clarke
Stabroek News
December 14, 2001

Four armed and unmasked men yesterday morning invaded a De Willem, WCD home through the roof and robbed the family of over $200,000 and gold jewellery during 45 minutes of a hair-rising terror siege

The men later made good their escape using a sideline dam but that was not the end of the indignities for the family. A member of the 'Black Clothes' squad on the West Coast Demerara (WCD) was said to be in custody after two rings belonging to a member of the robbed household were found in his pocket following a visit to the site of the robbery.

Contacted by Stabroek News yesterday, Police Public Relations Officer, Assistant Superintendent David Ramnarine, stated that police were investigating the circumstances.

When Stabroek News visited the 227 area 'G' De Willem south home of the Nazims, family members and acquaintances had gathered in the verandah.

Relating the family's 45-minute ordeal to Stabroek News yesterday, Nazeema Nazim stated that the attack began shortly before 3 am and just after she had completed prayers.

According to the housewife, she had just placed her Koran on a side table and was about to proceed to the washroom when she heard a loud banging on the door. She said she immediately went to awaken her husband Nazim who was asleep in their bedroom at the time. She also began scream "thief," to alert neighbours.

Nazim, with the assistance of his son-in-law Farhad Shazam, proceeded to lock a connecting iron-grill door, which leads to the kitchen to secure the area where the family was. By this time the bandits had already gained entry to a section of the bungalow-type home, via the roof after removing a galvanised sheet. They began smashing items in that area, including a wall divider containing items of crockery, repeatedly demanding that the family open the section of the house where the six adults and two children were.

The Nazims' daughter and Shazam's wife, Suzie, used her cellular phone to call the police. But, apparently observing this through the frosted-glass window panes separating the living room from the kitchen, the bandits fired a shot through the window, narrowly missing the young woman. The bullet passed through a wall near her head and lodged in a chamois leather in a container behind the wall.

Changing strategy, the bandits took to the roof again, removing a couple of sheets over the living room area to gain entry. Three men entered the room and began demanding cash and jewellery.

Nazeema, who had gone to hide with her grandson, witnessed two of the men administering blows to her husband, as the others screamed. Suzie attempted to persuade the men to stop beating her father. She then retreated to her parents' room under the pretext of going to get what they were demanding and again phoned for the police.

Meanwhile, another of the men had gone to her room and was holding a pistol to her husband's head, demanding cash and jewellery. Suzie returned with a quantity of cash and jewellery and handed them to the bandits, who then began ransacking the wardrobe. From there, they retrieved a video camera, a video recorder and a wristwatch.

After making further demands for cash and jewellery and being told that they had been given all that there was, the bandits ordered the woman to open the locked iron-grill doors to allow them to leave.

It was when she opened the rear door to give them access to the yard, that Suzie saw the fourth man, armed with a shotgun, who appeared to be the lookout for the other gang members.

After the bandits had retreated in the direction of the sideline dam, Suzie locked the door and returned to the front of the house to check the condition of other members of the household.

A short while after, a squad of policemen from the Leonora Police Station arrived and began taking statements from family members. Then a unit from Target Special Forces arrived and began looking for the warhead left by the bandits. While conducting this exercise, a member of the group retrieved a pair of rings from under a bed in Nazim's room.

After they had left Nazeema, who had placed the rings under the bed for safekeeping and had checked that they were still in place after the bandits had left, alerted the police party to the missing items.

Searches of the 'black clothes' officers later at the station unearthed the valuables in a pocket of one of the group. The woman was later contacted by the area's commander and informed of the discovery.

As the other party of police continued their inquiries, they got word that a group of men was seen crossing the sideline dam in the backlands near Uitvlugt estate and immediately left to follow the lead.

Having little success, they later returned and continued to take statements from family members.