Kaieteur News – Two suspects in the October 10, robbery at Kaieteur News Saffon Street, Charlestown office, on Wednesday made their second court appearance but the matter was put off for today.
The suspects Collis Haywood, 40, a chef of Lot R2-578 Canary Street, Tucville and Kevin France, 35, a taxi-driver of East Ruimveldt, Georgetown are slated to appear before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts for the continuation of the matter. Haywood and France were charged individually and not for the actual robbery that was carried out on the media outlet.
This publication had reported that Haywood was slapped with two charges which allege that on October 10, at Canary Street, Georgetown, he had in his possession 210 matching rounds of ammunition along with a .32 Taurus pistol, while not being a licensed firearm holder. Haywood’s lawyer had told the court that his client lives at a property that is occupied by several persons and his position is that he had no knowledge, possession or control over the firearm and ammunition that were found.
However, the Police Prosecutor informed the court that the firearm and ammunition that Haywood handed over to the police were the items that were stolen during the robbery at Kaieteur News. It was reported that during the investigation, the police went to the home of Haywood and during a search in his presence, the defendant handed over a bag containing the items mentioned in the charge.
Meanwhile, France was slapped with two charges that allege that on October 10, 2022, at East Ruimveldt, he had in his possession one .9mm pistol and 10 .9mm ammunition. As for the other five defendants, they were charged jointly and are scheduled to make their second court appearance today before the Chief Magistrate.
Also scheduled to appear in court today are: former Kaieteur News Research Assistant, Ryan Wharton, 33, a resident of R4-574, Canary Street, Tucville, Georgetown; Kaieteur News security guard, 35-year-old Joshua Junor of Middle Road, La Penitence; Ivor Belingie called ‘WildLife’, 25, of Back Circle, East Ruimveldt; Lemuel Grant, 23, a clerk of Russell Street, Charlestown and Harry Stongster, 36, of Hyde Park, Timehri, East Bank Demerara.
Wharton, Junor, Stongster, Belingie and Grant were jointly charged with robbery under arms, contrary to section 222 (c) of the Criminal Law (offences) Act Chapter 8:01.
According to the particulars of the offence, between October 9, 2022 and October 10, 2022, at Lot 24 Saffon Street, Charlestown, while being armed with a dangerous weapon, the defendants robbed Kaieteur News owned by Glenn Lall of $38.8 million, one Republic Bank cheque value $9.1 million, US$9,306, one black .32 Taurus pistol serial number FHS60749 value $350,000, ammunition value $480,000, one firearm case value $25,000, two handles value $10,000, and six magazines value $60,000.
It also states that the men robbed Noel Junor, the other security guard who was on duty, of $5000 and Wayne Lyttle, a graphic artist who was duty, one cellular phone value $44,000. All five defendants denied the charge that was read to them and the Chief Magistrate had remanded them all to prison until November 10, 2022.
According to reports, during the wee hours of Monday, October 10, three bandits entered the Kaieteur News office located at 24 Saffon Street, Charlestown, Georgetown office and stole a safe containing millions of dollars along with a firearm and ammunition.
Wharton was the first to be arrested. While in custody, he reportedly confessed to plotting the crime with Junor who was one of two security guards who were on duty during the commission of the robbery – and several others.
According to police, Wharton and Junor had confessed to planning and carrying out the crime while their accomplices admitted to playing their roles as well. Wharton and Junor had reportedly been planning to rob the company a while back but had only finalised their scheme on Sunday morning. They contracted Stongster and Belingie to be their accomplices and borrowed a Toyota Spacio motorcar from Grant to transport them to and from the Kaieteur News office.
During the wee hours of Monday, they put their plan into motion. Junor turned up for work duties early while Wharton drove the borrowed car with Stongster and Belingie as passengers to the location. Belingie entered the building and held their accomplice Junor, as well as the other security guard on duty, and the graphic artist at gunpoint, while Wharton and Stongster headed upstairs of the two-storey building and broke the door of the company’s Accounts Department.
They also broke a drawer, stole petty cash and fetched out the safe which contained the other items that were stolen. The two men loaded it into the car, which was parked just outside the Kaieteur News office, and then escaped with Belingie. Junor remained and waited until his accomplices were a safe distance away before contacting his superiors to inform them that he and his colleagues had been robbed of cell phones and $5000 cash.
After splitting up the cash at Wharton’s home, a sixth suspect, Haywood, was contacted and given the stolen firearm and ammunition to keep. He reportedly hid them in his backyard. Investigators were able to crack the case after individuals were able to identify Wharton as one of the bandits seen in footage of the robbery. As it relates to France, he was reportedly the suspect who provided the firearm that was used to carry out the robbery. Following the robbery, an investigation was launched and this led to France being arrested. A search was conducted at his home and he reportedly handed over the firearm to police.
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