Hunt continues for escapees
Guyana Chronicle
May 8, 2002

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POLICE yesterday continued the intensive hunt for the five prison escapees and accomplices, two of whom are believed wounded, who have been involved in a series of daring car hijackings and robberies in and around the city since the February 23 jailbreak.

Sources confirmed a cop was being questioned for alleged links to the gang but said he was not under arrest.

In addition, one of the owners of a Georgetown taxi service was still in custody for questioning, as it is believed the company had rented cars to the wanted men, they said.

The person should have been released yesterday but was detained for further questioning, according to the sources.

The Police officer being questioned for alleged connections with the escapees is from a Georgetown outpost, a source said.

The officer had attempted to talk with a close relative of the suspected gang leader on the phone last Saturday, as Police tried to track them down after clear signs that at least two had been shot the afternoon before when an armed security service vehicle patrol intercepted them during a robbery in Stone Avenue, Campbellville, Georgetown.

The call was traced and the officer was being questioned, the source said.

A gang of heavily armed men, believed to be the escapees, engaged the Police in a shootout lasting some two hours at a house in Prashad Nagar, Georgetown, Saturday evening.

Earlier in the day, the Police had swooped on a house in North Ruimveldt, Georgetown, and found evidence that the bandits had been there.

"We found bloodstains and bloody clothing in the house", a source told the Chronicle, adding that it was clear that the two wounded men had lost a lot of blood.

Following the Saturday night shootout, Police issued a press release saying they are convinced that the prison escapees are being provided with "logistical and moral support".

Police in the release Sunday said that as ranks were approaching the house in Prashad Nagar in pursuit of persons suspected to be involved in the recent spate of armed robberies, they were greeted with a hail of gunfire which forced the lawmen to adopt tactical manoeuvres during which time the men escaped.

"The Police operations were hampered by the terrain, high fences and a nearby mosque. Additionally, we were conscious of the need to avoid civilian casualties in such a heavily populated area", Police said.

A plastic pail with AK 47 ammunition, bits of clothing and other items were found in the house, which Police said appeared to be one of the safe houses of the bandits.

"The network (of the bandits) is well-organised and they are working with a lot of cellular phones. They are heavily armed and have heavy guns and we wonder where they have got these from", a source told the Chronicle.

Police are offering a $10M reward for information leading to the recapture of the five escapees - Troy Dick, Dale Moore, Andrew Douglas, Mark Fraser and Shawn Brown.

Police said the gang was involved in the killing of well-known anti-crime fighter, Police Superintendent Leon Fraser on April 2 when he and other cops closed in on a car partly hidden in a clump of bushes at Yarowkabra on the Linden/Soesdyke highway.

Fraser, shot in the head, was the second murder victim of the band which also killed Prison Officer Troy Williams, 21, when it broke out of the Georgetown jail.

One of the five also shot Woman Prison Officer, Roxanne Whinfield, 36, in the head as they fled and she remains in critical condition at a medical institution overseas.