Armed bandits raid pet supplies store again

- "I decided to stay and help build this country, but it looks like it is not paying off," the frustrated Ramgobin lamented.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

For the third time in 12 months, armed bandits on Tuesday afternoon stormed Livestock and Pet Shop Supplies Store at King street and North Road near the St George's Cathedral, beat and threatened to kill the owner and his employees and escaped with some $300,000 cash. Proprietor Deonarine Ramgobin said he has now become fed up of the incessant attacks and would soon relocate his business.

The man said that even with the presence of armed policemen patrolling the streets, the bandits have been able to carry out their attacks and escape. "They are coming when they know that it is time to close off, which means they are getting all of the day's sales," Ramgobin lamented.

Police said in a release that around 4.15 pm on Tuesday three men robbed the shop of cash and articles. According to the police, Ramgobin, a resident of Leonora, West Coast Demerara and three female employees were tending to the establishment when the armed bandits struck. The robbers entered the building and stuck up the employees, ordering them to lie on the ground, after which they stole $300,000 from a drawer and a cellular phone and a bunch of keys from Ramgobin.

They then made good their escape. Police said it was the third robbery to have been committed on this entity within recent times. Meanwhile, during an interview with Stabroek News yesterday Ramgobin said persons working on Robb Street saw five men exit a car not too far from the store. One of the men went into King Street, while another stood at the head of North Road. These men, according to reports, acted as lookouts for the other three who went into the store.

Ramgobin said the three men entered the store like any other customer, but before he could do or say anything the men pulled out guns and ordered everyone to lie face down. Ramgobin said one of the bandits put a gun to his head, jumped over the counter and demanded that he hand over all of the cash.

The businessman said he pointed the robbers to the money, but one of them was under the impression that he had more and so he kept asking for the money bag. After spending some time in the shop, the men picked up Ramgobin's cellular phone and a bunch of keys. They then ran out of the store, got into a car, which was waiting for them and disappeared in the busy downtown area.

Police were summoned to the scene, but arrived too late to give chase. The businessman said he was getting little help from the police. He said all the ranks were doing was to take four hours to take a statement and promise to follow up the matter. Two weeks ago, four men robbed the store of its day's sales and last year there was also a robbery at the location during which time the bandits escaped with a large sum of cash.

Noting, that the bandits seem to be targeting his business place, Ramgobin said the situation has driven fear into his staff, two of whom did not report to work yesterday. "These girls went through this thing three times now so I can imagine how they feel," he said.

The businessman said he would not be surprised if they decided to leave the job. The businessman pointed out that the location of his business gave the criminals some leeway, noting that the area is usually desolate at certain times in the day and was off the beaten track. However, he said the location affords his customers good parking, a luxury they would not enjoy when he relocates. "I will have to do it if I am going to make a profit with what I am doing," the businessman said.

He told Stabroek News that he had other options; one was to be a lecturer at the University of Guyana and the other to migrate to Canada. "I decided to stay and help build this country, but it looks like it is not paying off," the frustrated Ramgobin lamented.

He mentioned that during the course of last week he observed a man sitting in the compound of St George's Cathedral, which his store overlooks, observing his every movement. He said that the man was at the church almost every day last week. He said on Tuesday the man was seen there up to midday and since the robbery, the man has not reappeared.

"These are people who are targeting me. They are looking at me closely so I have to move," the businessman said. Over recent weeks, there has been an upsurge in criminal activities in and around the city. A number of armed robberies have been committed on storeowners, despite the presence of policemen on the streets.