Armed gangs attack city gas stations
One channa-bombed at Eccles, Shell robbed on Camp Street
By Nigel Williams
Stabroek News
January 10, 2003

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Armed bandits last evening failed in a bid to set fire to the Shell gas station on Camp and New Market streets - the second attack on a fuel depot yesterday and a new twist to the ongoing crime wave.

They fled after the failed attempt and after robbing employees and customers.

The seven-minute blitz started at about 6:30 pm sending customers and passersby into a frenzy. Early yesterday morning a similar attempt was made on the Two Brothers Service Station at Eccles (see other story on page 11) when armed bandits threw channa bombs at the petrol pumps.

An eyewitness to last evening’s incident said he noticed a dark blue car pull up and park at the station. The man said six men got out and they all rushed into the station.

At the time of the attack two minibuses were refuelling along with a taxi driver. Stabroek News understands that simultaneously two of the men accosted the taxi driver, while a third went after the man’s wife who had gotten out of the car and was standing nearby. By this time the minibuses had sped off leaving the taxi driver. He said “all I feel was somebody push me from behind and when ah look around I saw one of the men grab out de gas pump from de young lady’s (pump attendant) hands and start to spray the whole place.”

A large section of the compound between two of the gasoline pumps and the mini-mart was doused with gasoline.

The taxi driver said when the man finished spraying the place he took out a box of matches and tried to light a match but it did not ignite and he seemed to give up on the idea.

At least two pump attendants were selling gas at the time and this newspaper was told that one of the bandits forced them to hand over their money.

The taxi driver related that a second bandit drew a 9mm pistol and grazed his rib cage with its butt and began demanding money. But once the man started spraying the place the taxi driver said he ignored the other bandit and quickly drove his car away from the pump and parked a little way off.

But the bandit followed him and took away $15,000 along with his cellular phone and jewellery.

Moreover the bandit stripped his wife of her rings and a gold chain. Stabroek News understands that two other bandits had entered the mini-mart at the same time when the taxi driver was being robbed. According to reports they snatched an undisclosed sum of cash from the cashier’s cage and unleashed a barrage of bullets into the ceiling before leaving. Several bullet holes were evident in the roof and on the walls inside and outside the building.

The taxi driver said when the two bandits came out of the shop they joined their accomplices in the car and sped away east into New Market Street in the direction of the Georgetown Public Hospital.

A huge crowd soon converged in front of the station and when firemen arrived they immediately blanketed the area where the gasoline had been sprayed with foam and later washed it away.

Some ten minutes later, a few ranks from the Police Target Special Squad arrived and after speaking with an employee they left. Other ranks including those from the forensics department later visited.

The army’s intelligence unit was also on site. Up to late last evening the owner of the station, Chris Callender, and a few of his employees were in the supermarket assessing the damage.

A few of his colleagues in the petrol dealers business also responded to the robbery and were seen offering words of comfort.

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