Guards ambushed, robbed of weapons
Stabroek News
February 27, 2002

Armed bandits held two Securicor guards at gunpoint, and stripped them of their weapons before making their escape in a waiting car outside a business place in Festival City, North Ruimveldt during the wee hours of yesterday.

The weapons taken were a 12-gauge pump action shotgun and a .38 handgun, both loaded. One of the guards was beaten and injured as the bandits wrestled with him to relieve him of his gun. A six-man gang is believed to have carried out the attack.

The two guards along with another (names given) were stationed at the Guyana Beverages Company on Blue Mountain Road. Yesterday, two of the three guards were taken into police custody and were assisting the police in their investigations.

A police source told Stabroek News that five of the men might have been the escapees, who broke out of the Georgetown Prison on Saturday. The source was of the view that the bandits, suspected to be the fugitives, were building up their arsenal to carry out other exploits.

Yesterday, when contacted, the Police Public Relations Department was mum on the events of the robbery and the shootout.

According to reports, the dark blue Toyota Carina car, which the men used in the robbery, was forcibly taken from Oliver Insanally of Lamaha Gardens on Monday night.

It is also believed that they shot at the Ruimveldt Police Outpost shortly after they left Festival City. This was not far from where the escapees had relieved Rhonda Marshall of East Ruimveldt of her car on Saturday. Marshall's car was found in Sophia later in the day.

Meanwhile, General Manager of the Trinidad-owned beverages company, Robert Selman, told Stabroek News that while the company was not robbed of anything, he now had to double up his security, which meant additional expenses. But, he added, he had no choice as he had to ensure the security and welfare of his staff.

A release from the Insanallys said that two unidentified armed men held up Oliver Insanally around 2250 hrs in the Bel Air Park area. According to reports, the young man was in Begonia Avenue, Bel Air when he was approached by the two armed men who forced him into the car trunk. They took over the wheel and later let him out in the Cummings Lodge area.

The car, bearing a different number plate, was found ditched in a trench in North Enmore, close to the seawall.

The Insanallys said they were "extremely grateful" that Oliver was not harmed in any way and would like "to thank all members of the police unit who responded and acted so quickly."

An account of the hold-up stated that the injured guard, James Straker, who was armed with a shotgun and a sergeant who was armed with a handgun had moved towards the road on hearing traffic moving swiftly along the road and had seen a police car chasing a man on a motorcycle.

The report said that soon after, the blue Toyota Carina turned the corner and stopped.

A source close to the investigations told Stabroek News that the sergeant was at the western bond when he was "held-up" by two men on either side of him with guns - one was said to be "brown skin and short" and the other "taller and dark".

They asked him where the other weapons were and he replied that they were behind him. Straker was at the eastern bond. However, it would appear from the report that he was caught unaware by two other armed men as he was observing the sergeant being pushed over to the western bond. They told him not to move and to turn over his weapon. He reportedly resisted and they hit him about his head until he collapsed. He sustained injuries to his head and received stitches to a gash in the head, which was about an inch long. Straker and the other guard who was robbed of his weapon were searched but they had only their identification cards on them.

According to the reports, the men then made good their escape. The police arrived on the scene shortly afterward, surveyed it and followed in the direction of the getaway car.

After the bandits left, the report said, the sergeant called the third guard and it took awhile before he actually responded. The third guard, it was reported, hid, leaving his weapon behind after realizing he was outnumbered. His weapon, another shotgun, was not taken.

According to the report, the guards felt sure that there were six men as two had attacked the sergeant, another two attacked Straker and there was also the driver and another man standing at the side of the car.

Sources told this newspaper that when the hold-up was reported, no mention was made that Straker had been injured. But a second report was subsequently made and Straker was taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital where he was treated and sent away. (Miranda La Rose)