Kaieteur News robbery: Two former employees, among seven, remanded to prison
Seven men, including two former employees, were on Friday remanded to prison for their various roles in the armed robbery invasion committed on Kaieteur News.
Those charged are: Ryan Wharton, 33, a former Research Assistant at Kaieteur News; Joshua Junor, 35, a former Security Guard at Kaieteur News; Lemuel Grant, 23; Harry Stongster; and Ivor Belingie called “WildLife” were charged for the robbery before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.
The men denied that between October 9-10, 2022, at lot 24 Saffon Street, Charlestown Georgetown, while being armed with a gun robbed Kaieteur News owned by Glenn Lall of $38.8M, a republic bank cheque valued at $9.1M, $9,360 USD, a .32 Taurus pistol valued $350,000, ammunition valued $480,000, a firearm case valued $25,000 with two handles valued $10,000 and six magazines valued $60,000.
It is also alleged that the men robbed Noel Junior of $5000 and Wayne Little of one cellular phone worth $44,000.
Grant’s attorney, Eusi Anderson, during his address in court said that the only role his client paid in the crime was lending his motorcar to his cousin, Wharton. He added that Grant was out partying at the popular bar “Outside” and CCTV footage will be attained to prove his client’s alibi.
Police Prosecutor Assistant Superintendent of Police, Neville Jeffers, strongly objected to the men being released on bail since they all gave statements detailing the different roles they played in the commission of the crime.
He further disclosed to the court that the alleged robbery was planned a week in advance by its mastermind Wharton.
Based on the seriousness of the crime and in the interest of public safety, the Chief Magistrate remanded the quintet to prison until November 10.
Meanwhile, the two other men, Collis Heywood and Kevin France, were separately charged for gun and ammunition possession.
Heywood denied two charges which alleged that on October 10 at Georgetown he had a .32 ammunition along with 210 matching rounds in his possession, without being the holder of a firearm license enforced at the time.
Similarly, France denied his two charges which alleged that on the same date in question at East Ruimveldt he had a 9 mm pistol along with 10 matching rounds in his possession when he was not a licensed holder.
Prosecutor Jeffers told the court that based on the investigation conducted into the robbery the pair was arrested and the firearm was found in their possession. The Chief Magistrate remanded the duo to prison until November 9.
The News Room previously reported that on the day in question, three gunmen invaded Kaieteur News and made off with a safe and a 9mm handgun with ammunition. The contents of the safe including millions of dollars have been recovered.
Kaieteur News in a post on social media said some $6 million of the stolen cash was recovered along with the getaway car, a gold Spacio.
The local newspaper claims that Wharton had reportedly confessed to being the mastermind behind the robbery.
In his alleged confession, he implicated Junor, who was one of the security guards that were on duty when the robbery occurred. He said he provided an illegal gun to Belingie to hold up Junor at gunpoint. Wharton also claimed to have borrowed a car from Grant, who is his cousin.
Wharton then allegedly convinced his friend, Stongster, a taxi driver, to go along with the robbery. Junor turned up for work on Sunday afternoon and the plan was reportedly put in motion at about 23:00hrs.
Wharton along with Stongster and Belingie showed up at Kaieteur News just after midnight; he and Harry headed straight to the Accounts Department where he knew the safe was being kept while Belingie held Junor at gunpoint.
Two other employees, Junior, a 63-year-old security guard and Little, a 20-year-old graphic designer, were also held at gunpoint and made to lie on the floor. They were also robbed of their smartphones and $5000 in cash.
Wharton reportedly told investigators that they drove to his home in Tucville, opened the safe and split the money between them. Junor was also reportedly included.
The mastermind further detailed that they burnt the clothes used to carry out the robbery and discarded the empty safe in a trench at Cane View Avenue, South Ruimveldt Gardens.
He then placed the 9mm handgun and ammunition found in the safe along with the firearm used to execute the robbery in a bag and gave them to his friend Heywood.
Heywood was later arrested, but the firearm used during the alleged robbery was found in his possession. Further investigation conducted led to the arrest of France.
France’s East Ruimveldt home was searched and the firearm and ammunition which was reportedly stolen during the robbery were found in his possession.