When Devon Anthony O’Connor purchased a DIGICEL Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card last month, he had no idea that it would lead to him and his brother being locked up for five days pending investigations into a murder.
You see, the cell number of the card was previously registered to a murder victim whose cellular phone was stolen during a robbery.
After months of painstaking investigations, detectives managed to trace the number to O’Connor and sought to link the young DJ to the murder.
Although the brothers were not told who was the murder victim, this newspaper was reliably informed that it had to do with the shooting death of former policeman turned mini bus driver, Beepat Taijram.
Taijram was killed in February in Grove, East Bank Demerara.
Both O’Connor and his older brother, Kenrick, visited this newspaper yesterday with their aunt to relate their ordeal, which they will certainly like to put behind them soon.
He said that since he did not have a proof of address, he had a friend purchase the SIM card from the DIGICEL outlet at Timehri.
O’Connor thought that all was well since he used the card without incident for a few days; then things began to fall apart.
Using the card, O’Connor befriended a female through the internet, certainly unaware that it was this same woman who would lead the police to him.
“The police use a girl to text me and make a date with me. She ask me to meet her at Patsy shop in Soesdyke,” O’Connor said.
On Thursday, last, he went to the location to keep the rendezvous with the woman, but instead of the female, the police were there waiting for him.
Two ranks in plainclothes approached him and one of them told him he was under arrest.
When the obviously surprised O’Connor enquired why he was being arrested, he was met with silence from the ranks.
“They put me in a car and it was like a motorcade. I get escort with siren like if I was a big criminal. People stop doing what they were doing and start looking,” O’Connor recalled.
He said that one of the ranks asked him if the SIM card in his cellular phone was his and he answered in the affirmative. He added that he had the document to prove where it was purchased, if only they would take him home.
Now, O’Connor’s internet profile has a photo of him with long hair, and at the time of his arrest his short hair seemed to confuse the police.
He told them that he had an older brother who had long hair. That brought his brother Kenrick into the matter.
The police went to Kenrick’s place of business at Kuru Kuru and detained him too.
“I was in my bar packing up stuff when five of them (police) came to me. I asked them what is the matter and they say they want me at the station. At that time I did not know that they were police because there was a Rasta guy with them and they look freaky,” Kenrick O’Connor stated.
It was only after he saw his brother in handcuffs that he realized that they were in “serious trouble”.
They were both taken to the Diamond Police Station where they were finally told that they were arrested in connection with a murder.
“They didn’t tell us who the person was or where and when it happened or nothing,” Kenrick O’Connor told Kaieteur News.
The following day the brothers were escorted like hardened criminals to the headquarters of the Criminal Investigations Department, where only Anthony O’Connor was interrogated.
He was asked where he got the SIM card from and again he told them that it was purchased from DIGICEL at Timehri.
“They tell me I lying,” Anthony O’Connor said.
He said that after taking their photographs, he and his brother were taken back to Diamond that very Thursday, where they remained until Monday afternoon without being further questioned.
A female relative of the two men told this newspaper that she had to be running up and down to secure their release from the lock-ups.
She said that she did contact the telephone company on Friday and they confirmed that it is possible that the number could have been recycled once it was inoperable for three months.
“I feel they (police) should have called DIGICEL just once like I did and they would have solved the matter sooner,” the woman stated.
She said that on Monday after the mandatory 72-hour detentions period had expired, she was told that the men were to be released on $20,000 bail each but when she took the money, ranks at the Diamond Police Station told her that they did not receive any instructions to free the men.
“A lady at the station was the only one who showed some concern for my nephews. Eventually the police released them without bail,” the woman said.
However, the two Kuru Kuru residents are to report to the police some time later this week.
“My whole village see I get arrest for some murder…I sleep on concrete,” said an embarrassed Kenrick O’Connor.
“It was not a nice experience,” his brother added.
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