Edward Gudgea, a 39-year-old painter of Lot 192 Back Street Grove, East Bank Demerara, was charged yesterday for Robbery under Arms committed on Gaytri Boodramlall.
Gudgea appeared before Magistrate Crystal Lambert at the Vreed-en-Hoop Magistrate’s Court where the charge was read to him. He pleaded not guilty and was granted bail in the sum of $200,000. The matter was transferred to the Wales Magistrates Court.
The charges brought against Gudgea stemmed from five bandits posing as Custom Officers, complete with handcuffs, radios and guns, robbed the Deo & Sons Wholesale Depot at Wales, West Bank Demerara, on June 1, around 13:00 hours.
Gayatri Boodramlall and Deonarine Boodramlall, the proprietors of the business located at 278 Patentia, WBD, were robbed in excess of $900,000. When individuals dressed like Custom Officers, came to their premises just after 13:00 hours and demanded to see the boss, claiming that they wanted to search the bond to see if all the taxes were paid for the items stored there.
Mrs. Boodramlall recalled that she pulled in the grill to the business, like she does every day at that time. Since at the time, the rate of business was slow and allowed her to proceed to prepare lunch for her husband and kids. Only two of the four kids where home at the time.
Mrs. Boodramlall recalled, hearing sounds coming from the front like someone was trying to open the grill that she had just closed.
She ventured out to see what was the raucous about, only to find men dressed in white shirt jac, dark blue pants and wearing shine black shoes, making attempts to enter the business, Mrs. Boodramlall at first glance took the individuals for Customs Officers, since from time to time Customs would come and check their business.
The men got the gate open and entered, then asked for the boss. Mrs. Boodramlall told them to wait and went to call her husband.
On her return, the men told her and her husband that they wanted to see the bond. Mrs. Boodramlall led two of the so-called Custom Officers to the bond, while three of them waited at the front of the shop.
Her husband, at this time, was getting up his documents, to show the men that he had paid his taxes up to date.
The men then asked to see who else was in the house. Mrs. Boodramlall told them that two of her children were upstairs, to which the men requested to go upstairs and see them.
This came as no surprise to the Boodramlalls. Whenever Customs came on previous occasions, they asked to see the upstairs and whoever else was home.
It was then the Boodramlalls would realize that they were being robbed. When they reached upstairs, the bandits had them all together. They took out gloves and put them on, and drew their guns.
They told the family to lie on the floor. The Boodramlalls who were robbed twice before, were very calm. This caused one of the bandits to take out the magazine from his gun and show them and tell them, “We ain’t joking; we gonna kill you if we don’t get some money.”
The Boodramlalls handed over $500,000 in cash, after which the bandits took all the cell phones in the house.
The bandits also took the DVR system, which stores the video footage from the house and businesses security cameras. They then warned the Boodramlalls not to follow them since that would have dire consequences.
After a few minutes, when the family thought that the coast was clear, they got up and called neighbours and told them what had happened. The police were called, and responded promptly.
When the Boodramlalls ventured downstairs, only then did they realize that the three bandits who were downstairs, were not just looking out, but were actually packing rum and other items, in bags, which they took with them.
Mrs. Boodramlall said the men varied in age from 25 to 35. The family had expressed thanks for still having life, and the fact that their children were not hurt.
This publication learnt that the police commenced an investigation that led to the tracking of one of the cell phone numbers that was stolen from the Boodramlalls residence, a sting operation was set up by police. The person who was using the phone was told that a package had come for the individual with the cell phone.
First, the woman on the phone was reluctant to collect the package, but called back and agreed to collect the package. The woman had agreed to meet at a specific location, a taxi was sent to the location to deliver the make belief package, while the police kept a close eye to see who would come to collect, after some back and forth via cell phone the woman appeared to collect the package and was arrested by police.
She then led police to the suspect. The police held an ID parade, and Mrs. Boodramlall positively identified Gudgea as one of the suspects in the armed robbery.
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