Bandits fired off about 50 bullets By Edlyn Benfield
Stabroek News
May 6, 2002

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Two days have passed since the dramatic robbery executed by eight bandits at Stone Avenue, Campbellville and the victims, 60-year-old Patrick and Gina Seebaran, 60, are still deeply traumatised.

Last Friday, shortly before 6 pm, the Seebarans were attacked by the gun-toting bandits at their Stone Avenue, Campbellville home and robbed of US$23,000 (around $4.5M) and about $40,000 in local currency in addition to jewellery, a camera, a cellular phone and several documents. The criminals also shot and injured two Advance Security guards who had gone to their rescue.

Recounting the terrible ordeal for this newspaper, Seebaran said that after arriving home, his wife opened the gates and he drove into the yard. He said that she had just opened the garage door when two male employees arrived in another car and entered the premises.

At this time, Seebaran recalled, eight men swarmed them with huge machine guns and after commanding the Seebarans and the employees to remain still, bundled them into the garage. Thereafter, a ninth man appeared wearing what seemed to be a Guyana Defence Force (GDF) uniform and a bulletproof vest. He also carried a large machine gun.

The shaken four were ordered to lie face down on the garage and Seebaran's wife was instructed to kneel. "But I refused to do so and remained standing," Gina Seebaran stated. She said that one of the men then approached her and ripped off a gold chain and bracelet. That bandit then demanded that she hand over the keys to the property.


Patrick Seebaran

According to Seebaran, some of the men also body-searched the two employees for weapons. After that, the men proceeded to collect the cash and other jewellery including a diamond ring being worn by Seebaran.

The badly shaken Seebaran told Stabroek News that the men began to beat him and his wife in an attempt to quiet him as he had begun to scream in order to raise an alarm. "I began shouting as loudly as possible, oh God, oh God, save me, ah gon dead," Seebaran said.

Moving with obvious pain, Seebaran proceeded to remove his shirt to show the Stabroek News reporter and cameraman his injuries which include severe bruises to the elbows, right rib area, left knee, shoulders, neck, head and other parts of the body.

Seebaran said that during this time, his daughter-in-law had been inside the home watching helplessly as the bandits terrorised them. He said that she telephoned her husband at the business place located at Sheriff and John streets, informing him of the attack and warning him not to come home.

Despite her warning, Anand Seebaran (Seebaran's son) recounted that when he received the news he telephoned Advance Security before driving his car to John Smith street where he parked some distance away and looked on.

Meanwhile, the bandits dragged Seebaran to the middle of the road in front of his home and had one of the cars driven up in front of the property from where they had originally been parked a short distance from the house. The bandits then attempted to shove him into one of the vehicles but were prevented from doing this as the Advance Security personnel arrived on the scene at the said time.

"God sent the Advance Security men. I pray that everything is okay with them and they recover soon."

He said that the bandits immediately shifted their attention and opened fire on the Advance Security personnel, shooting off some 50 rounds before getting into their vehicles and driving off. At this stage, the two employees who had been left in the garage ran to his aid and lifted him into a car and took him to the emergency section of Prasad's Hospital where he and his wife were treated and sent away.

Anand Seebaran said that when he observed the vehicle moving off with his father, he followed behind to the hospital.

As the bandits waged a gun battle with the Advance Security men, the elder Seebaran said that he tried to flatten himself against the road to avoid being hit but when the bandits reversed their car, one of the vehicles drove over his right leg. Luckily for him, there was only swelling but no other serious damage.

Seebaran said that this is his first such experience with bandits since starting his business in 1974 and related that the company had been scheduled to launch a new Foodtown drink in Berbice on Saturday but was forced to cancel because of the ordeal. When this newspaper visited the Seebaran's home yesterday, the President of Foodtown International Inc., for which Patsan is a distributor, Bill Clark was there from New Jersey to sympathise with the family after hearing about the ordeal.

Home Affairs minister Ronald Gajraj called the family on Saturday and expressed his concern, Seebaran said, adding that Gajraj also gave his assurances that everything necessary would be done to protect citizens.