It was near pandemonium in the New Amsterdam market yesterday morning, as a lone gunman robbed the popular Hack’s Variety Stall, owned by Rashid Hack, and escaped with a bag of cash – not before firing shots in the air, which caused those in the market and its environs to run for cover.
According to reports, a variety of items are sold at the establishment, and the owner is a licenced Cambio dealer. The stall opened for business around 08:00 hrs and it was not too long after, that an individual dressed in a red shirt and black pants went to the premises under the pretext of conducting business.
The man suddenly whipped out a gun and held employee Alvin Mature at gunpoint, and demanded cash. Whilst using expletives the unmasked bandit pressed the gun to the man’s mouth threatening to shoot, if he didn’t hand over money. Two bags of money were then grabbed by the gunman. The bandit, before leaving took another employee hostage and fired shots in the air. This caused other vendors and shoppers to scamper for cover. The man then ran out of the market with gun and bag in hand through heavy rain. He then ran towards New Street where an accomplice was awaiting on a motorcycle. The men then rode up the one-way before turning into Lad Lane and disappearing in the vicinity of Angoy’s Avenue.
Speaking to the media, the stall owner stated that he was at home at the time of the robbery. He said that he received a telephone call about 08:30h informing him of the incident.
The businessman stated that he was out of the country for the past four weeks and only returned to the country on Tuesday.
He had left a large quantity of cash with his employees to conduct business, including making purchases. He said the money included sales from this cambio business. He did not have a chance to go through the books and to do any banking. He had planned to do so yesterday. He stated that he lost over $2M. The man, who sells a variety of items including household and electrical items, stated that his business has been robbed over five times, including one occasion when an entire money chest was moved out. He has been applying for a firearm licence for a long time, but was repeatedly denied.
An eyewitness stated that the thief was seen in the vicinity for some time before the stall opened and had told those around that he was waiting to do some business and “change some money with Hack.”
A witness stated that he gave chase, but aborted his pursuit since he realized that the man had a gun and was not shy to use it.
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