-as net closes in on gang
A security guard and two alleged gunmen are likely to appear in court this week in connection with last Friday’s brazen attack at the Ramada Princess Casino.
Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum said that police will be seeking legal advice and already have established a case against some of the individuals.
Those in custody include Wayne Griffith, who was captured at the scene and former casino security guard, Andre Blackman.
Also in custody is a third individual, Junior Stewart, who was detained Sunday night after police searched his sister’s home at Vreed-en-Hoop, West Coast Demerara.
Police also recovered over $900,000 in a bag at the sister’s home.
Investigators disclosed that Blackman, the security guard, stated that the heist was planned a long time. He said two weeks ago one of the gunmen asked the security guard to provide him with the details about the security operation at the casino.
But the men had been visiting the casino since March. One named individual went there once in March and never returned. Junior Stewart visited the casino about five or six times, the first visit dating back to some time in March.
Wayne Griffith had visited the casino at least three times before the robbery on Friday morning.
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 one final surveillance of the casino.
The plan was for the robbers to 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 Wayne Griffith, 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.
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