Robbery at Cummings Lodge Gunmen terrorise Teakaram family
-cart off over $3.5M in loot

Stabroek News
August 18, 1999

Armed bandits struck again on Monday night attacking the Teakaram family of Cummings Lodge, East Coast Demerara and carting off some $3.5 million in cash, jewellery and household items.

Thirty-nine-year-old proprietor of Sheer Elegance Fashions, Bharat Teakaram, said that at about 8:30 pm he was in the yard packing his mini-bus with goods for the next day's sale at his store in Regent Street, when he saw a man at his gate, which was locked, with what appeared to be a machine gun.

According to Teakaram the man told him "don't move". However, he said, he ducked and crept along the eastern side of his bus and proceeded to run in a southerly direction to the back of the house. There, he said, he raised an alarm while jumping over the back fence. In the process, the businessman twisted his left ankle.

Meanwhile, his 30-year-old wife Gaytrie, proprietrix of a hair and beauty salon, and her two children and four nieces were seated under the house while another niece was helping Teakaram. Mrs Teakaram said they suddenly saw someone with a gun at the gate who said: "Gunman, don't move."

She said that they ran into the house leaving the door open as they had become confused. She said she immediately went to the upper flat of the house where she hid the children in a bedroom.

Sharon Budhan, 16, Teakaram's niece who was in the front section of the house which is used as a bond, said that she was helping her uncle to load the mini-bus when the door to the bond opened and two armed bandits entered. Taking her hostage with guns held to her head, Budhan related, they ordered her to take them to her mother or they would shoot her.

Mrs Teakaram said that as she emerged from the bedroom, she came face to face with three armed men, one of whom was unmasked and who told her not to move. She described the weapons as two hand guns and a machine gun.

Mrs Teakaram said that earlier in the afternoon she had picked up her cleaned jewellery from the jewellers and was wearing five pairs of gold bangles, a gold chain and her wedding band. She was ordered by the bandits to strip off all of her jewellery.

She said that the men then went into the bedroom and ransacked it for money and more jewellery, filling their pockets with gold and costume jewellery. They also took local and US currency which she had there.

The two masked bandits who by that time had discarded their masks, she said, held her at gun point while they debated whether to take the television set, a computer and a fax machine. She said that they severed the telephone connection as they grabbed the last item.

Mrs Teakaram recounted that the tallest of the three bandits told his accomplices to finish her off because he was known to her, but they decided against this. The woman said that after some 20 minutes of terrorising her and ransacking her home, the bandits prepared to leave, firing off about five rounds. By then it had begun to rain and the gate was still locked so she cooperated with the bandits by holding the equipment while they jumped over the fence.

The businesswoman issued a plea to the government for protection, stating that some six years ago she and her husband had applied for firearm licences, but to date no response has been forthcoming.

Neighbours told this newspaper that they heard about five gunshots then saw a man jump over the fence and run about 20 yards down the road where he entered a white car with tinted windows. The neighbours also said that they had earlier heard one of the bandits order the family not to move and had made calls to the Eve Leary and Plaisance police stations. They said that the police took a long time to arrive on the scene.

At the time Stabroek News visited the house yesterday morning, members of the Criminal Investigation Department were questioning the Teakaram family.

Monday night's robbery is another in a series of armed attacks perpetrated on businesses on the East Coast Demerara. Police have warned about a gang using a white car to commit robberies on the East Coast of Demerara.

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Guyana: Land of Six Peoples