Armed bandits break down doors, rob Berbice family of over $6M

– suspects in custody

By Shabna Ullah and Adrian Smith

Wednesday, September 23, 2009 

 

Three suspects were arrested around 4 am at Kildonan Village, Corentyne, Berbice and a white car intercepted one hour after a robbery at Hogstye where a family was terrorized and robbed of over $6 million in cash and jewellery.

The police intercepted a white car and seized a .38 revolver with five matching rounds and a bag with wet clothing. Two other persons were also subsequently arrested and police sources said the three suspects are known to them.

This newspaper learnt that five bandits, four of whom were masked, entered the home of Subash Singh, 50, and his wife Jaiwantie, 47, by jumping into the veranda. They carted off $5.2 million, US$8,700 and Sur$1,085 which they stuffed in a black haversack.

Mrs Jaiwantie Singh (left) stands at the bedroom door which the bandits broke open. (Right) The Singhs’ residence

The Singhs operate a hollow block factory and lumber yard at their home and have another lumber yard at Portuguese Quarters, Port Mourant.
The bandits accessed the property through vacant lots at the back of the village and had “mud on their feet”. They escaped through the same route. About half an hour after the robbery a white car pulled up at the gas station opposite the Singh’s house to purchase gas.

Police were at the scene conducting investigations when they received reports that three men in a white car who were in possession of a black haversack had just left the gas station. The police then trailed the car and intercepted it 30 minutes later.

Relating the ordeal, Jaiwantie said she and her family were asleep when she heard a loud banging on her front door. She told this newspaper at her residence that from the time she heard that sort of noise she knew that it was bandits. She said they kept hitting the door and then began firing shots in the air. She said the men kept saying they were police and were shouting for her and her husband to open up.

She said she still did not open it and the five masked men continued their onslaught on the door, until finally one of the panels give way. She said that somehow they managed to pass through that broken slot and open the door from the inside.

A sledgehammer

The bandits then pounded on her bedroom door with a sledgehammer, causing a piece of the wood from the door to fly off and hit Jaiwantie her on the neck.
Jaiwantie told Stabroek News that she argued with the men who were dressed in black clothing and were wearing what seemed to be “police boots” and told them that they could not be police because “police would not break down we door.”

She said the bandits tried in vain to open the bedroom door by pushing their hands through the broken section. They then fired a shot through the crease and the bullet lodged in the ceiling.
The woman was then forced to open the door after the bandits threatened to shoot her and her children. Her four daughters aged 19, 15, 10 and four years old, closed their bedroom doors and hid under their beds after hearing the commotion.

Eventually when the bandits got into the room they took Jaiwantie out, demanding money and jewellery then dragged her by the hair back into the room. They hit her and pushed her down on the ground.

The woman said she happened to raise her head slightly to look at the bandits and one kicked her head and ordered her not to look at them.
Just to avoid being battered further, the woman said, she found a piece of cloth on the floor and used it to cover her head.

Her husband who was unharmed handed over some money to the bandits.
They then tried to turn the combination lock to open a chest but dismantled the code instead and ended up breaking it open with the sledgehammer.

Jaiwantie recalled that one of the bandits attempted to stuff some of the money into his pockets but was compelled by one of his accomplices to “put the money in the bag [a black haversack].”

Jaiwantie said that from the time the men started pounding on the door they made calls to the police and neighbours, but no one went to their rescue.

One neighbour told Stabroek News that he received a telephone call but could not come out because the bandits were firing shots.
Jaiwantie is questioning how the police could have found the gun and “not find the money” and wondered what the bandits had done with it.