Five heavily armed bandits robbed a Tucville businesswoman of over $75,000 in cash and cosmetics early yesterday morning, after breaking down her door and repeatedly kicking her brother.
The raid lasted for about 20 minutes and although calls were made to the police a squad only arrived ten minutes after the gang had bolted in a waiting minibus.
The young businesswoman, Sharon Rollins, has now fled her home and closed her business indefinitely, while her brother, Orlando Rollins is in pain from the assault he endured. Sharon Rollins is the proprietor of Sharon Variety Shoppe, Groceries and Cosmetic Store.
When Stabroek News visited the family yesterday morning her father Oscar Rollins, and Orlando were recounting the ordeal to other family members who were home at the time, but did not come out of their rooms until the bandits had left.
Oscar told this newspaper that about 2:15 am he and other family members were sleeping when suddenly they heard a loud, continuous banging on the front door. The man said he got up and with Orlando went into the living room.
Orlando said from all indications only two of the five bandits had entered the yard, while the other three remained on the road.
Orlando, who was still in pain from the many kicks he received from one the bandits, said the men took about 10 minutes before they broke down the front door using a 2x4 length of wood.
However, while they were battering the door a neighbour heard the noise, and immediately called the police at La Penitence Police Station. She was told that there was no vehicle available to transport the ranks. The neighbour subsequently called the Impact Base, but the ranks responded some ten minutes after the bandits had driven off in a minibus.
When contacted yesterday, Public Relations Officer of the Guyana Police Force, David Ramnarine gave a different version, saying that at about 2:50 am yesterday an occupant of the home visited the East La Penitence Police Station and alerted the ranks about the robbery. He said shortly after 3:00 am, a combined team of ranks from Brickdam and East La Penitence responded to the scene.
Orlando observed that the two bandits who entered the house were armed with long guns, and according to a neighbour those on the road were armed in the same fashion.
Once the men got inside the house, Orlando said he began to scream and one of the bandits pointed a gun to his head, "When I see that I run in de toilet and hide, lying down flat."
His father, Oscar, said he was commanded to lie flat on his face by one of the bandits and Sharon who had joined them outside ran back into her room.
Orlando recalled that while in the washroom, one of the bandits went in for him. "De man collar me and take me outside in the living room and put me to lie down flat."
At this point both Orlando and Oscar were lying down beside each other and the bandits began to ask them where Sharon was. He said both bandits looked relatively young, but they partly covered their faces with handkerchiefs and wore hats.
According to Orlando, "When they ask wheh she deh I did not answer dem so one ah dem start kicking me all over me body."
He recounted that the bandits demanded cash and gold, but he stayed quiet throughout the ordeal. While the bandits were kicking Orlando Sharon asked the bandits from her room what they wanted.
On hearing her voice, the men, who according to relatives seemed to know her, marched into her room.
"Wheh de money and gold deh?" the bandits demanded. Orlando said Sharon showed them the drawer where she usually kept her money, but in their haste they searched one of the drawers and did not find any money, and with that they began to curse her. Another search was made and the bandits came up with $15,000, but were not satisfied.
"Sharon tell dem that is all she gat, but one ah dem started to threaten her, so she told them that the rest ah money deh in the shop."
During this time neighbours had already called members of the Impact Squad, but no one responded. Sharon, according to Orlando, led the bandits into the shop and opened a drawer with $11,000 and gave it to them. "But even with that they kept asking her for more money and gold," Orlando said.
Still not satisfied with their takings, the bandits ripped open a bag of rice, scattered the rice on the floor and filled the bag with cosmetics, over $30,000 in phone cards, Sharon's cellular phone and other items in the shop. Orlando related how they then fled, jumping into an RZ minibus waiting nearby which drove off in the direction of Perry street, Tucville.
A little while later a vanload of policemen arrived at the scene and quickly cordoned off the house, but subsequently left apparently to chase after the bandits, Orlando said.
Sharon has been operating her business for over six years now and it was the first time she had ever been robbed.