A resurgence of armed robberies
BV, Triumph targeted
Stabroek News
March 21, 2004

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Over the past 11-odd days, five shops and one grocer were robbed in various villages along the East Coast, a distressing development which indicates that the bandits are still on the rampage.

Ever since the February 23, 2002 prison escape, the lower East Coast has been the scene of countless robberies, murders and kidnappings. The situation cooled off a bit when four of the five escapees died in some of the country's most bloody shoot-outs during the last two years.

However, since the new year began, a youth gang operating out of Buxton and which has allies in other East Coast villages has been on the rampage.

This gang is made up of about ten persons, a source in Buxton had told this newspaper, and has good links with other criminal networks around the country.

Over the past ten days, the bandits seemed to favour the villages of Beterverwagting (BV) and Triumph since four of the five groceries are located in these two villages.

The latest attack was on Wednesday night when Shazad Hakim a young businessman of Agriculture Road Triumph ECD was robbed of some $100,000 by two armed bandits in a white car.

Hakim who operates Shazad Touchdown Bar said he had just attended to two customers when the bandits visited him around 9 pm. At the time, he was about to change a tablecloth on one of the tables in the bar. One of the bandits entered and purchased a cigarette.

Hakim was attending to the man when the second bandit rushed into the bar and immediately pointed a gun to his head.

Once in the bar, the gunman commanded Hakim to remain silent and still. They then barged their way under the counter and demanded that Hakim turned off his lights.

Hakim said while complying with the bandits' orders he began to tremble in fear and on noticing this, the bandits dealt him several slaps and cuffs about his body before throwing him on the ground. He told this newspaper that the men then asked him for all of his money, but he told them he had none and once he said this they resumed beating him and also threatened to shoot him.

Fearful of being killed, Hakim surrendered some $100,000 in cash to the bandits who on receiving it dashed out of the bar and fled. They later joined a white car and headed further east on the East Coast Public Road.

The police were summoned but arrived after the bandits escaped.

Wednesday's robbery had followed one the night before. Ralvin Maynard of BV was shot in his legs and robbed, when four heavily armed bandits stormed his SideLine Dam business premises. The incident occurred around 6:30 pm and saw the bandits who were armed with machine and hand guns making off with over $100,000 in cash and articles.

Besides, during the robbery customers were held hostage in the shop and were also stripped of their jewellery and cash.

Maynard's attack had followed closely on the heels of another on March 8, when three armed bandits went on a rampage in BV robbing two shops of substantial sums of money.

Following the attack villagers had vowed to rid the area of criminals declaring that the bandits were not residents, but are being aided by corrupt persons. During their raid, the bandits robbed Bibi Zamroo Nisha of 107 Canterbury Walk and Janet Price who resides a few doors away from Nisha.

The bandits had also last week Tuesday attacked a grocery store at Better Hope made off with more than $50,000.

Dhanraj Lall and his wife Parbatie Manick were the victims. The bandits, two of them, threatened to shoot the victims if they did not give up their jewellery and cash. They escaped on foot.

And two days later, a grocer delivering goods in Victoria during the evening was shot in his posterior by a bicycle bandit who also stripped him of some $100,000 in cash.

Shailendra Persaud, 32, of Enmore East Coast Demerara and his porter were delivering groceries to a family when the bandit riding on a bicycle struck him on his head with his weapon.