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San Fernandians beat teen bandit

A TEEN bandit chose the wrong place and time to carry out a robbery in San Fernando yesterday afternoon. Still seething over the robbery and shooting of bank staffer Roston Mahabir the day before, San Fernandians dished out vigilante justice on one of two bandits who robbed a fruit vendor of his gold chain on Lower High Street.

Other vendors and shoppers risked their lives as they chased and cornered the 16-year-old armed bandit who was beaten senseless by the group. The teenager was taken to the San Fernando General Hospital where he was treated and discharged into the custody of police. He will be placed on several identification parades.

Vendor Damien Jaisingh, 30, of Princes Town who sells on lower High Street, was treated for a cut to his neck when the bandits yanked off his gold chain. The two bandits, pretending to be customers, approached Jaisingh and one snatched his chain. An alarm was raised and the two thieves ran in different directions as vendors and other shoppers reacted.

The man with the chain ran up Quenca Street and got away. The teenager from Marabella, ran into Plaza America mall where he was chased and cornered in a store. A video on social media showed him on the ground being held down by several people, including a man who rained blows on the teen.

The police arrived moments later, arrested the dazed teen, confiscated a gun and searched the surrounding area for the escaped bandit. Businesses in the area provided the police with footage from their security cameras which captured images of the bandits.

Insp Don Gajadhar, who was out searching for Mahabir’s attacker when police responded to the fruit vendor’s robbery, said while people have the freedom to wear their jewellery under normal circumstances, he cautioned, “things are not normal right now and people need to protect themselves.” He said the police were doing a lot to tackle the crime problem, but individuals also need to do their part to safeguard themselves.

The recent spate of crime in the southern city including the shooting of Mahabir, the recent robbery of RT Jewellers, the murder of burger vendor Nari Chatoor on Monday night and the attack on vendor Jaisingh, led president of the San Fernando Business Association (SBA) Daphne Bartlett to state business owners, shoppers, workers and ordinary citizens are traumatised and this is affecting productivity. She has written to acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams asking for permanent joint/police army patrols in the city.

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