Bandits snatch $5M from Foulis gas station
Businessman Cecil Gajadar had read enough about the robberies and other crimes in Guyana but this did not deter him from returning home and opening a gas station at Foulis on the East Coast of Demerara.
But Saturday night he had a firsthand experience of the banditry that has been plaguing Guyana for several years now.
Gajadar, 70, was attacked by three heavily armed men soon after closing his fuel station for the day at around 21:40 hours.
He and his wife were relieved of $5M and a quantity of jewellery during a frightening ordeal that lasted for about five minutes.
The businessman told this newspaper that he had just returned from dropping home some of his staff when the attack occurred.
He said that he was speaking to his watchman when he noticed a strange man trying to hide behind a structure in his fuel station compound.
“As soon as I see the guy’s eyes and I see the gun, I know that we finish hey, that’s it, and I saw the other two guys coming,” the businessman recalled.
He described one of the bandits, who appeared to be the mastermind, was short and carried a handgun. The other two were dressed in ‘black clothes’, similar to what is worn by the police.
He said that the two men who were dressed like police ranks were carrying big guns, similar to the AK-47 assault rifle.
According to Gajadar, the short bandit confronted him and forced him back into the fuel station’s mini mart where his wife was.
Another bandit confronted the watchman and dealt him a blow to his head with a gun, drawing blood and causing the man to fall.
The businessman explained that the bandits appeared very relaxed and professional since one of them took out a beverage from the refrigerator, while one of his accomplices stood on the watchman who was lying motionless on the ground.
The mastermind then demanded Gajadar’s ring.
“I said it was my wedding band, but he said ‘take it out’, so I said ‘give me a chance I will take it out, it tight.’ and I take it out and give him. He asked my wife for hers, she gave him. She take out the chain from her neck. He go to rip the earring from her ears, she say ‘I’ll take it out’ and she gave it to him,” Gajadar told Kaieteur News.
“The other two ain’t saying nothing, I wasn’t hearing them, but this short one, he is the mastermind, saying ‘get de money!’
Gajadar said that his wife showed the bandit a drawer with some cash inside but upon checking it, the man was not satisfied and demanded more.
Gajadar said that he protested when the bandit ordered him upstairs, claiming that he did not keep any cash there.
However the bandit insisted. “Like they know what they were about,” Gajadar said.
While going upstairs, the bandit saw a safe and demanded that the businessman open it. “I told him it was just papers and so and he say open it,” Gajadar said, adding that it was at this point that he was gun butted.
The safe was where Gajadar kept most of his cash. In fact it contained $5M, which the businessman had accumulated during the week.
“When he see the bags inside, he know that was the loot he came for and he say ‘lie down’ and I lie down.”
The businessman said that he begged the bandit but the man was not inclined to listen.
“I say ‘man this is a brother you doing this to.’ Ah say ‘me like you man, I might look different but I like you, and instead ah you come to help me and protect me, you want kill me and take away what me get’.”
The ploy certainly did not work. Instead, it only angered the bandit.
“He tell me ‘Dis is not brother time.’ Then he call his partner fuh come and collect dem bags quick and then he went outside and through the door,” Gajadar told Kaieteur News.
When the victims eventually got up and looked outside, the bandits had vanished.
Although the fuel station had suffered two petty robberies previously, Saturday night’s ordeal has left the businessman and his wife badly shaken.
Members of his staff are also concerned, since according to Gajadar, the financial loss could affect their employment for the Christmas holidays.
The police were summoned and a massive investigation has been launched.