Bandits hit money-changer's home; terrorise wife, grandchild
Stabroek News
August 17, 2002

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Bandits on Thursday night attacked the East Ruimveldt home of America Street money-changer Orin Braith-waite, making off with diamond and wedding rings, some cash, a cellular phone and gold earrings.

Braithwaite's wife, Carole, and their two-year-old grandson were alone at home at the time watching television in the lower flat of the range apartment. The front door stood open.

Mrs Braithwaite told Stabroek News yesterday that an unmasked young man, carrying a large gun, barged into her home at about 9:40 pm and demanded money and gold jewellery.

"Where de jewels?" The man quizzed her. When she denied having any, Mrs Braithwaite's diamond ring and wedding band were snatched from her finger.

The attacker still pressed home his demand, while asking for her husband. As the frightened woman continued to deny having any valuables, another gunman rushed in and placed his gun by her mouth. He then closed and locked the front door.

The men forced her upstairs as she held on to her petrified grandchild and ransacked the upper flat and the rest of the home for about ten minutes, pocketing cash, her cellular phone and a pair of gold earrings that were on the bed head, in the process.

"Whey de jewels, whey de money?" the men continued to ask.

"They put de gun to me mouth and then the other one say, `Beat up duh woman and leh she show you whey de money deh!' He cuff me in meh head and in meh stomach and then push meh head down pon de bed with de baby...I say, `Jesus Christ! I ain't got no money. Meh husband ain't lef no money home.' After he put the gun in my mouth, I start praying to de Divine Order," the woman recounted.

At the time, she was still holding on to her motherless grandson and when the child started crying, he, too, was manhandled by the gunmen. "They put they hand over he mouth and then tell me I must shut he up," Mrs Braithwaite stated. After the men left, the child shakily observed, "Mommy, de boy cuff yuh."

Apart from the two in the house, the woman said there were two other men waiting in a car outside.

As the men fled, the woman raised an alarm and called the police, but up to 8 am yesterday, no law enforcement officer had responded to the report. At that same time, a number of cops were a stone's throw away, at the scene of a major shootout. (See other story on page 3.)

Mrs Braithwaite said, too, that after the bandits left, she and neighbours placed a call to her cellular phone. Someone who spoke with a foreign accent answered it.

"When we call the phone, somebody talk like a foreigner and said, `She is not here...'"

Just last Wednesday morning, Cecil Payne, another America Street money-changer, was robbed of more than $700,000 by four armed bandits who broke into his West Ruimveldt home in George-town.

And last month, armed bandits held up and robbed a group of money- changers on America Street in the city. The businessmen were made to lie face down on the concrete pavement, while their attackers fleeced them of local and foreign currency.