Armed bandits in robbery rampage in Annandale
Stabroek News
July 26, 2002

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A group of armed bandits suspected to be residents of the village of Annandale on the East Coast went on the rampage late Wednesday evening and early yesterday morning, robbing a pensioner of over $450,000 in cash and jewellery, while firing several gunshots in the air.

A 35-year-old woman, Indra Persaud, was shot in her knee during the attack but vigilant residents apprehended one of the suspects who is currently in police custody at the Vigilance Police Station.

The pillaging started at around 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday at 263 Church Street, Annandale North and ended up at 76 Persaud Street, South of the village at around 10:15 a.m. yesterday.

Stabroek News understands that the apprehended bandit is a resident of Annandale and is known for acts of banditry and drug abuse. According to 17-year-old Monica Goorudat of Church Street, she was awakened by the sound of footsteps in her bedroom. The teen who was the only person home at the time said that her phone immediately rang but as she ignored it, she observed that a man was in her room.

“Well after he came close to me, I started to scream and he said don’t mek noise because other people deh downstairs with guns.”

Goorudat told Stabroek News that she ignored the man’s warning and continued to shout and later escaped through the same window that the bandit used to enter her room.

She said when she got downstairs a large crowd had already gathered, including members of the Annandale Policing Group, but the armed bandits had already shot Persaud who lives next door and escaped.

Goorudat said that she ran into Persaud’s home and when she got there she saw the woman lying on her floor bleeding from the gunshot wound. The bullet had penetrated her wall and hit her in the knee.

The young woman said that shortly after a police patrol was passing and they responded and along with residents they went into the house.

The bandit who was still inside Goorudat’s house managed initially to elude the police and residents who had commenced a search for him. And he was not found until about 15 minutes after the police had left when residents who had returned to the house insisting that the man was still there came upon him sandwiched between two mattresses. The police who were not far away were recalled and they took the bandit into custody but not before he received a sound thrashing from his fellow villagers.

Leaving North Annandale empty-handed and with one of their accomplices apprehended by the police, the gunmen who were not satisfied, went south of the village, robbing 67-year-old Mohandai, known as “Sheila” of over $450,000 in cash and jewellery yesterday morning at about 10 a.m.

When Stabroek News visited the pensioner she was having her breakfast and said that she had lost consciousness several times during her 12-minute ordeal. The old woman who suffers from a heart problem told this newspaper that she was at the time frying plantains when three armed men stormed her premises.

Mohandai, who alone occupies the three-bedroom house, said that she had closed her gate with padlocks but the gunmen climbed over. According to the pensioner, two of them jumped over her gate and while the other one accosted a fish vendor who was there at the time, the other bandits forced Mohandai to take off her gold earrings and guide them through her house.

“At this point me tell dem, this house na me wan, ah dis same gal ya (the fish vendor) wan, but one a de man seh, you lie, you live right hay, dis hay ah you own.”

The 67-year-old said that the men then pulled her up and began interrogating her, inquiring whether she had money and jewellery. Mohandai related that she told the bandits that all of her possessions were upstairs and was about to lead them through the front door with the aim of allowing her neigbours to see them but the men detected what she was up to and insisted in going up through the back.

The mother of seven said she began to cry but one of the bandits using his gun continued to hit her about her body.

Mohandai recounted how she watched as the men opened her wardrobe and took out a bag full of gold and silver jewellery along with $50,000 cash.

She said that she had saved the money for a very long time and it was very heart-rending to see the men carry it away.

She said after taking the money and jewellery, one of the bandits, with a gun raised to her head, asked her for more money and she began to fall at this point.

However, she managed to maintain her balance and pleaded with the bandit not to take her life. She said they then exited the house leaving her on the floor panting for breath.

Yesterday the residents of Annandale in disgust lamented the situation in the country. But what angered them most was the fact that a van load of Guyana Defence Force ranks were parked not too far from the area and did not respond to the crime.

On Monday three armed men believed to be residents of Buxton had attempted to rob Ace Shopping Centre, also in Annandale and on Wednesday two armed men held up a mini-bus in the area and walked south of the village after robbing their fellow passengers.