La Jalousie family terrorized by early morning gunman
-shot fired

A gunman early yesterday morning terrorized and robbed a La Jalousie family of jewellery worth more than half a million dollars before calmly walking away.

During the five-minute ordeal, the man fired a shot though it did not strike anyone and he also attempted to grab a four-month-old baby while demanding money and jewellery but the baby's mother held on to him and handed over her jewellery worth at least $600,000.

Handed over her jewellery worth at least $600,000

In the wake of the robbery, disappointment was expressed at the long time it took for the police to respond though it was admitted that the police were called after some time had elapsed.

The robbery occurred just about 2:50 am yesterday at the La Jalousie, West Demerara home of Pulmattie Puran. Recounting the incident yesterday, the still shaken woman told Stabroek News that at just about 2:50 she woke up to find a man kneeling at the side of her bed, with what appeared to be a handkerchief concealing the lower part of his face. She stated that he appeared to be looking and feeling under the bed to see if anything was there but he did not find anything. The wardrobe also appeared to have been rifled through but nothing was taken and she said that she had slept through that. The woman said that upon realizing that a strange man was in her room she immediately moved to one side of the bed and began to scream and the bandit quietly walked out of the room and went into the living room. She said that she kept screaming loudly.

It was unclear as to whether there was more than one bandit as Puran said that the bandit used a black handkerchief to cover the lower part of his face, while her daughter, Kamlawattie said that the man she saw used a blue handkerchief to conceal the lower part of his face. Similar descriptions were given of the man and none of them saw more than one man. The bandit had apparently gained entry by jumping from the step onto the verandah and then entered through the verandah door. Prints made by the bandit were still visible yesterday and police were carrying out investigations when this newspaper visited.

Meanwhile, after leaving the elder Puran's room the bandit entered Kamlawattie's room where her husband and the baby were also sleeping and at gunpoint demanded jewellery. Using expletives the bandit demanded that Kamlawattie's husband, Latchman "lay down on yo belly, turn yuh face, don't look at me". Kamlawattie said that she told the bandit that she didn't have any money but the bandit kept repeating his demands and ransacked the wardrobe.

He then left and re-entered her mother's room and began demanding money and jewellery from her. "Me sey, ow pickney, me nah gat no money and jewels," the woman recounted.

Apparently hearing movement in Kamlawattie's room the bandit again went to her room but before entering fired a shot which penetrated the bedroom wall but did not hit anyone. This time he attempted to grab the baby as he kept demanding jewellery but Kamlawattie said that she held on to her baby and placed him on the bed and handed over her jewellery which she had in a bag and which she had recently refashioned, but hardly wore. Apparently satisfied, the bandit left.

By this time the constant screaming had alerted the neighbours but in the meantime her mother had gone silent and Kamlawattie said that she was still unsure whether the bandit had really gone. She noted that she then opened the window and watched as the bandit calmly walked out the road and in the direction of Windsor Forest and then rushed over to her mother to find out if she was okay. Her three other children in another room had awakened by this time.

Meanwhile disappointment was expressed at the police response as Pulmattie said that they did not turn up until daybreak even though she had called the Den Amstel police about three times. It was admitted though that the police were not called until sometime after the incident as Pulmattie said that she was so scared that she could not speak. She said that after 3 am she first called the Leonora CID as she had their phone number and asked for the telephone number for the nearby Den Amstel Police. When this was obtained she called that station and informed them of the incident. She said that she called a second time when they did not turn up and then a third time.

She said that the police there then "call back to ask how me deh, if me okay". She declared that it was not until the intervention of someone, who is a police officer and who called the Vreed-en-Hoop police station that ranks belonging to the quick response squad turned up at daybreak. The bullet was yesterday recovered by the police and according to reports is one used by a 9 mm gun.

Yesterday, the elder Puran said that she was still scared and it was believed that the robbery could have been committed by someone from the area. Kamlawattie noted that her sister had been robbed in a similar fashion last year.