Bandits rob Long Creek family
Chainsaws, $300,000 taken; car hijacked
Stabroek News
July 21, 2002

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Marauding gunmen shifted their operation from coastal areas to terrorise a family, including an 11-month-old baby, at Long Creek, Linden-Soesdyke Highway.

The heavily-armed gang of five busted their way into the home of Andrew and Cleopatra Famey on Friday evening and carted off $300,000, four chainsaws worth more than $700,000, a cellular phone and a quantity of gold jewellery. Andrew Famey was also forced to pack his television set into his own car, PHH 1648, before handing over the keys to the masked assailants. The car, a burgundy Marino, was found abandoned yesterday morning in the vicinity of the old Ideal factory at Kuru Kuru, also on the Highway.

When Stabroek News visited the Fameys yesterday, Cleopatra Famey, a 32-year-old mother of one, shakily recounted the ordeal. According to the woman, she, her husband and son had just returned from the city and were talking with other family members in the ground floor sitting room, when the bandits struck.

"We came back home around 7:30 to 8:00 pm [and shortly after] we hear one kick on the back door and two armed bandits came in. I started to scream and say, `Don't shoot.'"

Mrs Famey said the attackers all wore masks, gloves, dark coloured long-sleeved sweaters and long pants, as well as "big" boots. Upon entering the home, the woman said, one of the men ordered her to "shut yuh mouth and lie down on de floor."

Also in the house at the time was the Famey's 11-month-old son, the wife's sister, 17-year-old niece and 21-year-old nephew. They all complied with the bandits' order and hit the floor. But Andrew Famey made a dash through the front entrance, only to come face to face with the barrel of a gun from a third bandit. As her husband was being escorted back into the house, the woman said, two other bandits joined the household, bringing the number of assailants to five.

Mrs Famey told this newspaper that she kept saying, "Don't shoot," and one of the bandits promised that if they cooperated, no one would be hurt.

"They had two [bandits] with long guns and the other three had some short guns with a magazine round their shoulder. The barrels had some round holes around them [and] a black rubber over them," the woman recounted. Her 76-year-old father-in-law heard her anguished cries across the road where he lived, and investigated, only to have a gun placed to his head.

"When I scream, he came in to find out what was wrong. I say, `Daddy, come inside,' because I couldn't tell him that bandits inside... sometimes he [the bandit] might of [shot him]. So he [the bandit] say, `Who is that?' I say, `Don't shoot, is my father-in-law.'" But by the time the bandit checked the front door, the old man had gone around to the back, seeking a way into the house.

"The bandit run back in with the gun and put it to my father-in-law head and say, `Sit down yuh ole self pon dis chair before ah shoot yuh and don't say a word.' So me father-in-law lef stand up trembling. I hold him and put him in the chair and say, `Daddy, sit down.' All he keep saying is, `Y'all pray to God.'"

All the while, she said, another of the bandits kept telling the others to shoot all the family members and "finish them off." Mrs Famey said she implored them to spare her life for her baby's sake.

Three of the bandits then took Andrew Famey upstairs and demanded gold jewellery, while one remained with the others. The fifth, went outside and stood guard.

"After the three went upstairs with him, I overheard them asking him, `Whey de gold deh?' So he say, `Hold on, ah gun give y'all everything.'" But Andrew Famey only found some broken trinkets in a box on the vanity.

"So he called to me and asked where is the rest of jewels? I said I have them downstairs. By the time I say I have them downstairs, the next one that was standing with the gun over we asked, `Whey side they deh?' I show him the ledge and he find everything."

After confirming that their accomplice had found the jewellery, the bandits who were upstairs told Andrew Famey that that was not enough. They then demanded cash.

"He told them that the other one already took it from him outside... $300,000 he had on him because, when he come home from town, he didn't get chance to go upstairs. So he said the one outside took the money from him and that he doesn't have anymore and the other one get the jewels downstairs. As they bringing he back downstairs, there were four chainsaws upstairs in the corner that I took from Courts. They pick up the four saws and bring them down and the other two upstairs ordered him [Andrew Famey] to bring the TV down. So he took the TV downstairs and they told him that they need the key for the car. He gave them the key, they open the trunk [and] they put in the four saws and tell him to put the TV inside. But while he was trying to put the TV, they realise that the trunk couldn't hold the TV, so they leave it on the ground." While they were trying to make the items fit in the trunk of the car, Andrew Famey made a successful dash to the bushes and hid.

The woman said while the men were upstairs, she heard one of them address another as "Colin." And while they were getting into the car, too, she heard them ask "Whey Fat Man dey?"

The car then pulled out of the long sandy driveway and headed towards the city. The woman's nephew then took a pedal cycle and headed to the nearby police station to report the matter.

"When he reach there, there was only one police. They left and went to toll gate and made a report... About a hour and a half after, six police came in a car. Then, this morning, the driver for the truck came and said he see the [hijacked] car park at Ideal, down at Kuru Kuru in the grass. He say when he feel the engine, it was hot."

Stabroek News learnt that after the robbery, residents along the highway saw the Fameys' car being trailed by a grey car. The two vehicles then turned into Yarrowkabra.

When the Fameys went to retrieve their car yesterday, only the phone charger was missing. The Fameys are farmers and also have a timber concession.

With a choked voice, Mrs Famey said that among the gold pieces stolen, was a chain her mother gave her as a wedding present. Her quick thinking helped save her wedding band. She had slipped it off and pushed it under one of the chairs as the bandits ordered them to lie on the floor. "But [they took] everything else... the baby band, the baby two rings..." the woman lamented.

The Fameys' car was one of two hijacked just hours apart. In a separate incident, at about 1:30 am yesterday, three bandits hijacked a car, bearing the logo of Indian Chief Taxi Service.

Reports state that the driver had picked up passengers on Sheriff Street, Georgetown, and taken them to Meadowbrook. There, three men placed a gun to his head and threw him out of the vehicle. He, too, reported being robbed of cash and jewellery. That car, also a Marino, was found abandoned in Lamaha Gardens later in the day.