Masked marauders plunder vendor’s home
Fusillade kept neighbours at bay in 20-minute ordeal By Kim Lucas
Stabroek News
August 8, 2002

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At least four masked and armed men broke into the home of a Stabroek Market vendor early yesterday morning and terrorised her household before escaping with an undisclosed amount of cash and gold jewellery.

In an effort to keep neighbours from going to the rescue of 49-year-old Marilyn Converty, the bandits also kept up a steady barrage of gunfire, shattering the peace of the North Ruimveldt, Georgetown neighbourhood.

The assault was launched at around 2.30 am while Converty, her two daughters and a nephew were still asleep. The woman said she awoke to the sound of someone throwing pebbles on her roof and immediately called out to her 23-year-old nephew, Irving Pyle, who was occupying the bedroom to the rear of the house.

Before the young man could have responded, Mrs. Converty said, there were heavy footsteps on the stairs. She instantly knew they were under attack. The attackers first attempted to break the front door, and when that failed, smashed the louvre windows near the step, stamped out the wooden bars and entered the house.

“They keep ramming the door for a good time. They went out there over 10 minutes [attempting] to get in the house. When they see they can’t get in there by the door, one of them kick out all the louvres and stamp out all the bars and come through there. I push me head through the window [and] keep hollering for the neighbours. I keep calling and everybody lights start coming on. As they [the bandits] seeing the lights coming on, they start to shoot up. [The neighbours] come out, but when people realise [there was] shooting, everybody run back in,” the woman recounted.

Pyle was the first one to be attacked. He had just emerged from his room, when one of the bandits, who had crashed his way into the house, placed a gun to his head and commanded him not to move.

The young man said he complied and the gunman ordered him to lie face down on the floor. He was then relieved of his 10 pennyweight gold chain and two pendants, before being chucked to the front door where he was forced to open it for the other bandits.

“So my nephew went and open the door and a [bandit] come in. Whilst he was coming in, another one was still standing up on the window sill watching in with de gun, so me nephew couldn’t do nothing...The ... one come in and they open de back door and a third one come up. One was in the yard.”

Around that same time, Mrs. Converty said that she heard a gunshot and feared that her nephew was wounded. But later, she heard the gunmen telling Pyle to lie on the floor again.

This time, Pyle defied, insisting that he preferred to be in the room with his aunt and cousins. So the bandits took him into the bedroom to where the woman and two girls were huddled on the bed.

“One turn on de light and he come in, [demanding]: `Whey de so and so money and de jewels deh?’,” the vendor narrated. She denied having either and the masked attacker immediately threatened to shoot the two girls - 11-year-old Ouandia and 13-year-old Natoya.

“When they seh, `Shoot de children!’ I study. The man watch at me. I had on meh married ring, he snatch it off. I had on a band and a watch, he tug off the band. I had a watch meh sister just bring for me, they tek off the watch and he start calling for de money,” the woman said.

“I know you. You does wear a so and so set of jewels. You does wear jewels. You is a road woman, yuh mussie got gun. Wheh de gun?,” one of the bandits kept asking Mrs. Converty.

She tried unsuccessfully to convince the bandits that the abundance of gold jewellery she normally wore was stashed at a bank, but the gunmen were not fooled. Again they threatened to shoot the girls and turned the weapon on them.

At that stage, the woman conceded and handed over the cash and jewellery to the man.

“I give he de bag and he empty out de bag. He say, `This is not all, wheh de rest of things?’ I say I don’t have anymore. That is it.”

Another bandit entered the bedroom at the same time and urged his accomplice to shoot Converty’s nephew. The woman insisted that at no time during the robbery did she state that Pyle was her nephew, yet the gunmen addressed him as such.

“They pulled out everything from the wardrobe and started searching and ain’t find nothing. Then another one come in and he peep. When he peep, he say, `Oh shucks! Come along, come along.’...And they came out and started shooting going up the road.” Apart from the cash and jewellery, the attackers picked up a bag of shoes, but later abandoned it at the front door. One of them even left behind a black hat, which Mrs. Converty showed reporters yesterday.

The police arrived after and are investigating.