Bandits hijack Desinco truck
Flee with $750,000
By Nigel Williams
December 14, 2002
Two Desinco Trading employees got the scare of their life yesterday on the West Berbice Public Road when three armed bandits hijacked their vehicle, bound them with duct tape and made off with $750,000 in cash.
The bandits ran the canter truck into a ditch before fleeing the scene. When Stabroek News arrived at Adventure, West Coast Berbice (WCB) where the menís truck was abandoned, Shawn Fraser and Junior Ghanie were ploughing through dense bush in an area infested with mosquitoes searching for their truck key.
The drama started at 1:30 p.m. in front of a grocery store at Golden Fleece, WCB. Relating what he described as a tragedy, Ghanie, who was also the driver of the truck, said that they were on their routine run on the West Coast Berbice when the bandits struck.
Ghanie said that while in the area they went as far as Rosignol selling various products.
According to him, when they got to Golden Fleece they stopped outside a regular customerís business to inquire whether she was interested in any goods, but the woman responded in the negative.
Ghanie said Fraser was the one who went into the womanís store to inquire, while he remained in the vehicle with the engine still running.
The Desinco sales representative said that when Fraser went into the store he took careful note of what was happening around him but he saw no one acting suspiciously.
Fraser did not stay long in the store and had returned to the vehicle when one of the bandits who looked as if he was in his late forties approached him, shouting in a loud tone.
Picking up the account, Fraser said the man told him to lie flat on the floor.
ďFor one second I didnít want to do so, but when the man raised a long gun I went flat,Ē Fraser said.
He said while he was on the floor a second bandit was observed standing behind the one who apprehended him while the third accosted Ghanie at the driverís seat.
Ghanie said that the man at the driverís side demanded that he leave the vehicle.
ďI did not do anything so the man push me off the seat and the three of them jump in the truck and sped off.Ē
The visibly shaken driver recounted that one of the bandits jammed a gun in his back, while another one rested his feet on Fraserís face. He said the third bandit who was driving was going at top speed. Both the bandits and their victims were very quiet throughout the two-mile journey during which the bandits began to tape the menís limbs. Ghanie said his face was tightly taped while Fraser hands and feet were tied. He said while they were bound, the bandits rifled through their pockets stripping them of the entire dayís sale, their personal belongings including cellular phones, gold chains and a wallet with $5,000. Fraser said the bandits also carted off some of the goods in the vehicle.
Still travelling down the dusty road heading west along the West Berbice Public Road the bandits on arriving at Adventure ran the truck into a ditch shrouded by thick bush.
As soon as the vehicle was ditched the bandits disembarked and one of them pulled Ghanie out by his feet.
Once out of the vehicle the bandits bound Ghanie a second time, this time using copper wire along with his own belt and then threw him into a pool of mud.
He observed that Fraser was still lying on the floor of the vehicle with his feet and face still taped.
About five minutes after he was dumped into the mud, Ghanie said he overheard one of the bandits telling the others that a vehicle was coming. ďDe vehicle coming! De vehicle coming leh we gohĒ.
Ghanie said those were the last words he heard from them.
A resident in the area told Stabroek News that he saw a carload of men heading for the city around the same time.
Ghanie and Fraser later loosened their bonds and caught a mini-bus which was heading to Rosignol.
They made two reports, one at the Fort Wellington Police Station and the other at Weldaad.
Trucks laden with goods have become a favoured target of bandits since a crime spree started earlier this year.