Nov 08, 2008 News
“It all happened so fast there was nothing else we could have done,” said Alvin Changur, Manager of the Universal Travel and Tour Company in Kingston, which was the target of brazen gun-toting bandits yesterday.
According to Changur, it was at about 12:30 hours yesterday when he observed a man entering the business place, but he said that he did not think anything was wrong, since customers would frequent the office even at that hour. At the time, three female employees along with Changur were on duty.
Changur, whose office is situated at the back of the business place, said that it was not until he saw the supposed customer rushing menacingly towards him with a handgun that he realised that something criminal was afoot.
“I just see this man hurrying to me and all the time pointing a gun at me…I couldn’t do anything, so I just put up my hands and surrender,” Changur recounted.
On entering the office, the manager said, the gun-toting man demanded that he hands over all of the money, to which he (Changur) responded by saying, “Boss Man, the money not in here.”
Changur said that he wasted no time in complying with the man’s demand for money, and thus took him over to a vault in which an undetermined amount of cash and cheques were stored.
It was while handing over the booty, the manager said, that he observed that there was yet another man armed with a gun guarding the other employees.
The bandits also relieved the staffers of their personal valuables, including jewellery, cash, and bank cards, before forcing them into the vault.
Changur said that while the door to the vault was pushed in, it was not locked. He added it was about two minutes after the bandits had presumably left that any attempt was made to exit.
“We push the door open little bit by little bit, because we were not very sure that they had gone…We were so afraid, because nothing like this ever happened here before.”
According to the manager, the entire ordeal lasted just under seven minutes. The police arrived on the scene a few minutes after being summoned.
According to accountant of the company, Ms Amalia Kartick, it was anticipated that the MMC security service would have responded long time before the police, since she had pressed a distress button which should have alerted the company.
According to her, instead of querying if all was well at the travel company, the MMC only telephoned a Cafeteria which is also housed in the building.
“They did not know that we were being robbed so they said that all was well. They (MMC) should have called us, too, but they didn’t.”
Kartick said that although the bandits had disconnected the telephone system during their attack, the security service could have still queried about their wellbeing.
A still distraught Nicole Gray, a sales agent, said that she was the first to encounter the bandits.
She related that she first observed that a man appearing to be in his thirties had entered the business place. Gray said that, for some reason, she started to feel uneasy, and was just about to inform the man that their computers were down when he whipped out a gun and warned that, “This is a stick up.”
She recounted that the man bundled her and the other two staffers into a corner, and somehow signalled his accomplice, who appeared as if from nowhere, also sporting a gun.
The accomplice, according to Gray, was ordered to guard her and the two other female employees while the other rushed towards Changur’s office.
Visibly shaken and unable to control her emotions, another staffer, Latchmie Hazel, said that the entire ordeal was completely surreal, adding that she was willing to surrender everything she had just to preserve her existence.
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