Latest update April 1st, 2023 12:59 AM
May 01, 2016 News
-told gang “less security and more money after 2.00 A.M”
The gang behind last Friday’s brazen attack at the Ramada Princess Hotel had help from a casino guard, who provided the gunmen with intricate details of the hotel’s operations, including the ideal time to strike.
The security guard, who is a former national athlete, was detained yesterday after Wayne Griffith, the gunman who was captured at the scene, provided police with the identities of the rest of the gang. Four of the five gunmen were still at large yesterday.
The suspects are reportedly from Onderneeming, Essequibo, Independence Boulevard and a third from Kitty and South Ruimveldt.
Police had retrieved wet clothing from two homes that they searched on Friday.
Kaieteur News understands that the detained guard has stated that the heist was planned some two weeks ago.
“Less security and more money after 2.00 A.M”
It was around that time that one of the gunmen asked the security guard to provide him with the details about the security operation at the casino.
The guard reportedly told the gang that there were “fewer people, less security and more money” at the casino after 02.00 hrs.
He also informed his associates that only two armed guards would be at the gate after midnight.
Prior to carrying out the attack, Wayne Griffith, the captured gunman, did surveillance of the casino.
The plan was for the robbers would split up the loot at an Albouystown residence.
On Thursday night, the ‘inside man’ came off duty an hour before midnight. He then met with the rest of the gang and they rehearsed the attack.
When it was close to 03.00 hrs, the guard indicated that that was the ideal time to “hit” the casino. He reportedly then went home.
The heist, carried out by four masked men, apparently went as planned, except for the fact that the same gunman who had done the surveillance on the business place got trapped at the back of the premises.
A police release stated that the attack began at around 03.30 hrs, when four men with firearms entered the casino and discharged several rounds into the air.
After relieving a security guard of his shotgun and ammunition, the gunmen ordered patrons and staff to lie on the ground. They then took the security guard to the cashier’s cage where the cashier was also held at gunpoint and relieved of an undisclosed sum of foreign and local currency.
The men arrived at the hotel in a white vehicle bearing a fake number plate, PRR 2545 and three of them managed to escape on foot. Police were able to apprehend Wayne Griffith, who was nabbed while trying to escape through a back door.
Police also impounded the car, which was left at the scene.
They also retrieved a shotgun that the bandits had taken from one of the guards, and another firearm that the gunmen disposed of after the robbery.
A policeman and five hotel staffers were wounded during the ordeal.
Lance Corporal Andrew Richardson of Impact Base, was shot to his abdomen; Eon Garraway was shot in his left hand, James Gregory sustained a gunshot wound to his left foot; Orlando Knights was shot in the left hand and Udairan Sookraj sustained injuries to his right hand.
The gunmen also assaulted staffers Melissa Ferguson, Jermaine Mason and Roshel Fraser.
There are indications that Lance Corporal Richardson and staffer, James Gregory, may have accidentally shot each other.
The Video footage taken after the attack showed patrons still on the ground and one terrified woman weeping as she hid under a table, as police ranks, including ‘A’ Division Commander, Clifton Hicken scoured the casino for the gunmen.
The ranks are also shown lifting a barman who was shot in the hand. They are later seen with captured gunman Wayne Griffith.
A security guard who was relieved of his shotgun had said that “about five of them” come up to him and told him not to move.
“Dem man seh pass de shotgun, (and) dem man tek away the shotgun and tell me sit down.
“If I did shoot, dead sure I woudda deh pon de ground, but I woudda kill one of dem,” the guard said.
Another guard said that he was attacked while he was at a guard hut.
One patron said that he was inside the casino playing on one of the machines when the men stormed the building.
“All I hear was ‘everybody go down on the floor’ and I thought it was a mad man run in but when I watch, I see a man with a gun,” the man said.
He added that everyone in the casino followed the men’s instructions. I turn and see everybody lying on the ground and I decide to lie on the ground, too.
“I was on the floor and I was hurrying to take out my money to put it in my boots and same time the guy pass and say ‘fat man what you doing there? Pass your phone,’ and he asked what else I got and when I said nothing, he go away,” the man recalled.
The patron and some others have vowed not to go back into a casino.
A woman also said that she had just won some $20,000 when the gunmen entered the premises.
According to one of the hotel’s taxi drivers, the men pulled up alongside his vehicle and four men exited with guns.
“This vehicle rolled up and these men exited. All of them had guns in their hands. They stick us up and put us to walk in front of them to go into the casino. They walk to the door and take away the security guards gun.”
He said that once they were inside, the men started to open fire before ordering everyone to lie on the floor.
“They robbed the casino and everyone who was in there. After some time, the one who was guarding everyone shouted ‘time up’ and two of them followed him, while one of them was still at the back,” the taxi driver said.
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