By Mondale Smith
About 10 men dressed in black and armed with high-powered weapons executed a daring robbery on America Street last evening that has left several money changers reeling from their losses.
The bandits, who arrived on five Honda CG motorcycles and in a car, created pandemonium as they released a volley of bullets in every direction before fleeing with millions in cash and jewellery taken from money changers on America and Longden Streets.
It was a scene reminiscent of the 1999 raid on the location which was carried out by the late notorious bandit Linden ‘Blackie’ London and his gang.
But this time around, the men struck in the evening and were able to make a clean getaway. And despite the several shots that were fired, fortunately no one was reportedly injured.
Among those robbed was money changer Ryburn Fraser, 47.
“Dem bannas carry away about $1.5M and change in cash plus gold,” he said.
Fraser, who has been a money changer for 25 years, said he counted about 10 heavily armed men with big machine guns and AK-47s.
Still in shock, he said he had mere minutes earlier called a taxi driver to take him home when the gunmen rolled up.
“All I see was five bikes roll up and dem men seh ‘pass the f%#@%&g money before we kill yah mudda [email protected]%&#’.”
The gunmen collected $300,000 cash which he had in his hand and also snatched his bag containing the rest of money.
Expressing disgust at his harrowing ordeal, he said while there were surveillance cameras in the vicinity “These bannas just didn’t care, they even carry away my phone…. It was like when ‘Blackie’ de come and rob people out hey.”
The father of four said the robbery brought fresh recollection of another robbery he had experienced on January 25 when he was relieved of more than $1M and shot seven times outside his lot 2688 Manatee Place, South Ruimveldt home.
Another money changer, recounting events, said all he heard were gunshots and he froze when he saw the many gunmen approaching.
Still shaking and breathing heavily, he said, “Some had on masks and others were not masked. Lucky for me, my friend snatch me by meh hand and we bruck out (ran). I thought I dead.”
Another popular money changer, sweating profusely while recollecting some of last night’s events, said he saw four Honda CG motorcycles pull up on the scene. “Them men just start bussing shots from in the middle of the road like if is war …but is rob dem come fuh rob and dem ain’t care.”
He said he ran away, leaving his cellular phone, which the gunmen carried away as they made their exit.
Across the road, a confectionary seller said the men arrived in mostly black.”
I thought was police, then as the shots started firing, my daughter holler ‘mommy’ and I hit the ground and fold up behind me stand and was madness after dat.”
Other money changers were robbed but opted not to quantify their losses nor tell their story except to say, “dis place getting dread again and these lil bannaz ain’t no jokey robbers.”
One 86 year old woman, recalling her experience, said she was staring down the barrel of a long gun and begging for her life.
“All I could have done was to go on my knees and beg dem ‘ow, don’t kill granny’, but these guys didn’t appear to be interested in nobody but the money men over the road.”
During the pandemonium, West Ruimveldt bus drivers abandoned their buses and passengers hastily exited through windows to escape the gunfire.
When everything had died down the police arrived on the scene only to comb the area to recover several spent shells from small and high-powered weapons.
Up to late last night there were no reports of anyone being arrested.
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