Agronomist, Bank and Acme employees identified as bank robbers; RBL closes branch
Written by Leroy Smith
A machine operator attached to Acme photo studio and a staff of the Republic Bank are in custody after the failed robbery this morning (Tuesday, June 04, 2017) at the Republic Bank Commercial office on Water Street, Georgetown.
However, one of their accomplices identified as Elton Wray, an Agronomist attached to the National Agriculture Research Extension Institute (NAREI) and dealing with the Agency’s Hydroponics project was not so lucky to be alive.
Both of the men, Jamal Haynes and another whose name has not been disclosed are said to be 24 years old.
The police are currently searching for two other suspects whose names were revealed by the men in custody.
Based on information the News Room received, the planned robbery was in the making for some time now, and the gang which carried out the early morning downtown drama has been carrying out a series of robberies along the East Coast Demerara.
The men were captured after they attempted to rob the bank early on Tuesday morning as staff were entering the building to report for duty. Crime Chief, Wendell Blanhum confirmed that the bandits were attempting to carry out the robbery inside of the bank.
The News Room was informed that the men showed up aback the vendors’ Arcade on Water Street where they parked their getaway car and proceeded to walk over to the bank. As the security guards were letting in employees, the men forced their way into the bank while one with his face covered stood outside firing shots into the air.
During that period, he received little engagements from security personnel who were strategically positioned behind their armoured vehicle as they waited for the bandit’s rounds to be exhausted. After that was exhausted, the man made a dash from the location, but persons began shouting for thief and two licensed firearm holders discharged rounds into the air, forcing the bandit to run into the arcade.
By that time, the terrorised shoppers and vendors had taken cover, and as the police arrived and gave chase behind the man, he reportedly stripped out of his disguise and ran into the kitchen of a food stall as if he was there cooking all the while.
However, alert vendors pointed out that the man was not an employee of the snacket in which he had affixed himself as a cook. He was promptly arrested by the police and the bandana, toque, gun and other items which he dropped were recovered.
It was also reported that an employee was taken hostage, during the process. The bandits, according to police sources and persons in the area, were attempting to make their way through a back gate of the arcade but that door was deliberately shut by the vendors who realised what was going on. They also closed the gates to the front of the arcade to aid the police in capturing the men.
Following the ordeal, the police were able to recover three hand guns.
There has been no report of any members of the public being hurt during the ordeal.
The getaway car which was also seized was hijacked from a taxi driver late last night (Monday, June 03, 2017) in ‘C’ Division after he was hired by three neatly dressed males who requested to be taken to Goedverwagting. It was related to News Room that when the man reached his destination, there they directed him to turn through a lonely street and when he did, one struck him from behind with a heavy metal while another pulled a gun and ordered him to exit the car.
Divisional Commander, Marlon Chapman who was inside the bank after the ordeal told media operatives that the investigations into the incident will continue and he also confirmed that the police are looking for other suspects.
Republic Bank (Guyana) Limited also released a statement in which it extends gratitude to the law enforcement agencies and security personnel for their alert response, which prevented the situation from escalating further.
The Bank’s Managing Director, Richard Sammy, said, “All of our staff have been accounted for and, where required, have received medical treatment. The bandits were unsuccessful in their robbery attempt. Our greatest concern at this point rests upon the safety and well-being of our staff and customers. We have initiated trauma assistance processes for staff and shall continue to work with law enforcement officials in their investigations.”
The Bank has closed its Water Street Branch until further notice and advises all customers that their banking business can be conducted at all other branches.
(N.B.- The owners of Acme has since denied that any of the suspects was employed at the photo studio)