The New Today

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Bank robbers from Tobago held in high sea chase

(L-R) Keon Dix –is a 36-year old from Parlatuvier in Tobago, Allan Melville- described as a 28-year old vendor from Hartlane, Scarborough, Akeem John – the 32 year old painter from Culloden in Golden Lane, Jabari Roach – a 25-year old from 26th Fort Street in Scarborough, 29 year old Nashawn Scotland is a resident of Mt Grace

A high sea chase involving two of the vessels belonging to the Grenada coast guard has resulted in the arrest of five nationals from Tobago, hours after they staged a daylight robbery of the branch in Carriacou of the Grenada Co-operative Bank Limited (GCBL) and got away with an undisclosed sum of money.

“All from Tobago –not one from the mainland Trinidad,” a senior member of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) told THE NEW TODAY.

The suspects appeared at the Gouyave Magistrate Court on Wednesday and were remanded to the Richmond Hill prison.

The officer shared the account given to him by a member of the force directly involved in the chase which lasted for about two-and-a-half hours before the bank robbers were out-run by the faster of the two coastguard vessels called to assist in the operation.

He said that within minutes of the bandits staging the robbery, the police station in Carriacou was able to contact officers in Petite Martinique as the get-away boat used by the robbers from Tobago were heading in that direction.

He spoke of the police on Carriacou giving a description of the boat as it sped away and one of the Coastguard vessels that was anchored in waters off Petite Martinique prepared itself to move into quick action.

He said the get-away boat with the robbers was spotted along the Windward coastline travelling South-east in the direction of Tobago and they decided to chase after it.

According to the senior police officer, the boat was moving with great speed and was out-running the local coastguard vessel.

“It’s faster than us by far. So what we did was call the other coast guard vessel which was smaller but had three engines and was very fast,” he said

The senior officer stated that within a short space of time the coast guard boat which was in Harvey Vale got into action.

“We called them and explained to them where we were and within a short space of time they came and took over the chase,” he quoted one of the officers on the first coastguard as saying.

“By the time we called them they were already in Windward. They were already called as well (and told about the robbery),” he said.

The high-ranking member of RGPF said he received information that about an hour-and-a-half later, the faster coast guard caught up with the one that had started the chase after the boat with the robbers from Tobago.

The senior officer told THE NEW TODAY that one of the men involved in the operation told him: “We gave them the general direction where the boat went. They were faster than us and they went after them. We lost sight of the boat but gave them (the faster coast guard vessel) the general direction in which the boat went.

“We continued going – we did not stop. We travelled for about another hour and we met them – they had the boat in their control together with the men. They were heading directly for Tobago – we caught them about 120 to 130 miles south-east of Carriacou,” he said.

“If that speed boat (the faster Coast Guard vessel) wasn’t here they would have gotten away again – they had already outrun the first Coastguard boat. We kept at them and we kept at a distance and kept going after them,” he added.

According to the senior member of the police force, it was reported that the sea water was very calm on the day and the local coastguard men could see the boat with the robbers in front of them.

“Outside was really nice and calm and you could see them in the distance. We just wanted to keep them in our eyesight until the fast coastguard came because we knew once the fast coastguard came then they would be able to outmanoeuvre them and get them.

THE NEW TODAY was also told that the get-away boat used by the bank robbers from Tobago was berthing right on the beach in Hillsborough close to a local restaurant.

A police insider said that two of the five robbers went into the bank while the other three stayed outside on the look-out.

He disclosed that one of the men held up the bank and the other proceeded to remove the money.

There are also reports that two of the bank’s customers who were inside the building at the time of the robbery were also stripped of their money by the men from Tobago.

According to the police source, the Coastguard men did not recover any money from the robbers as they threw it into the open sea during the chase.

He said the only thing that they got from the robbers was a magazine containing 3 bullets on the boat.

THE NEW TODAY understands that the police believe that one of the five apprehended suspects was involved in the robbery of the GUT Credit Union about two years ago.

A police official said that they believed at the time that the two GUT suspects were Vincentians as they headed in the direction of St Vincent after the robbery but the lawmen now believe that it was a decoy to mislead them but that they soon diverted towards Tobago.