Mahaica family flees after brutal robbery, threats
Stabroek News
April 9, 2004

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A Mahaica family yesterday fled a rented apartment after two bandits beat and robbed them the night before.

The armed bandits struck around 8:30 pm on Wednesday at Hand-en-Veldt, Mahaica and carted off some $65,000 worth of cash and jewellery. They then bound Lakeram Sanichar and his wife, Ahilia and threatened to kill them if they reported the matter.

Recounting the ten-minute ordeal, Lakeram told Sta-broek News yesterday that he and his wife were relaxing in their hammock downstairs and their children were watching television in the living room when two men entered the yard. Lakeram said the men were dressed in dark-coloured clothing and wore toques. Once in the yard, one of the bandits accosted Ahilia and proceeded to beat her with his weapon, while the second man took Lakeram upstairs.

Lakeram told this newspaper while upstairs the bandits called on the children to lie face downwards and he was forced into his bedroom where he was tied up and guarded. Simultaneously, Ahilia was led into the kitchen and subjected to threats ranging from kidnap to murder. She told this newspaper that the bandits demanded cash and she handed over $2,200 which was all they had. "But he seh mi have more and he start to beat me on mi head," Ahilia related. According to her, while she tried to persuade the man that the $2,200 was all that they had, the bandits threatened to kill her husband and kidnap her children if she did not produce more.

"So after they were insisting that they are going to kill and kidnap I went and hand over all de jewellery."

The bandits also robbed the woman of her wedding band and a pair of gold earrings.

Lakeram said after collecting their loot the bandit took Ahilia into the room and they then bound them together and fled the scene.

But before the men departed they sternly warned the family not to report the matter to the police or the newspapers. Lakeram said the men threatened that if they did another attack would be made on their home.

The bandits also told the family while fleeing that they were from Buxton and a car was waiting on them. But Lakeram told this newspaper that he was convinced that the bandits were not Buxtonians. He said that it is clear that the bandits knew a lot about his movements.

Once the bandits escaped one of the children untied Lakeram and his wife after which a call was made to the Mahaica Police Station. Ahilia said the cops responded swiftly but did not go after the bandits, settling instead to take statements from the couple.

Lakeram declared that he is a very poor farmer who earns an extra dollar by working as a minibus conductor. He added that the men said they knew how to get him.

It was the first time the family was robbed but it was not the first time bandits had visited their homes. Ahilia told Stabroek News two previous attempts were made but an alarm was sounded and the bandits escaped.

When Stabroek News visited the family yesterday, they were camping out downstairs at a relative of Ahilia's. All of their clothes, wares and other articles were strewn on the ground. Lakeram said they decided to move out of the rented apartment after they defied the bandits and reported the matter. He said they could not take the risk and stay in the house since the area was usually very dark in the nights and crime was escalating.

"Nobody could take the chance with these men, they said they will come back if we talk and we talk, so what sense it mek staying around", Lakeram declared.

Neighbours who spoke to this newspaper said they were not aware that a robbery had been committed until they saw the police on the scene. The vowed to keep criminals out of the village which was hardly affected during the crime wave over the past two years.

The area has no policing group but lots of limers who are often seen playing cards under a tamarind tree, a resident said.

Over recent months bandits have stepped up activities along the lower East Coast. The police in response have intensified their patrols along the East Coast and on Sunday night one bandit was shot dead and another was apprehended just after they had robbed Jules and Leila Chabrol of Success, ECD.