Black Immigrant Daily News
Massy Stores Super Centre La Romaine. Police killed one of four suspects after a robbery at the supermarket. – File photo/Lincoln Holder
A suspected bandit was killed during a shootout with police at Union Hall, San Fernando, after he and three others abducted a manager of the La Romaine branch of Massy Stores and forced her back to her workplace to open a vault on Friday night.
The incident, the third robbery at that branch, occurred after closing hours. However, the store was open for business as usual on Saturday morning.
As the manager made her way home along the Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway on Friday night, she observed she was being trailed by a white SUV.
The SUV had flashing lights and thinking it was a police vehicle, she pulled over on the side of the road near the former Petrotrin pond at Gasparillo.
Three men dressed in police uniform exited and approached her Tiida hatchback and entered the vehicle. At gunpoint, she was placed in the back seat between two men on either side of her. A third man drove her vehicle.
By force, she was taken to Massy Stores Super Centre located at the corner of South Trunk Road and Bamboo Bay Road, La Romaine and at gunpoint, and was made to open the store and a vault.
The bandits removed an undisclosed sum of cash from the vault, leaving the scene and the manager behind.
The police, whom Newsday was told had earlier alerted Massy of a possible robbery, were contacted and a bulletin issued. Southern Division officers and a team from the Port of Spain CID who were in the area responded.
Around midnight, police intercepted the Tiida on the Golconda overpass at Union Hall, resulting in a shootout between the cops and the bandits.
One suspect was shot and taken to the San Fernando General Hospital but later died from his injuries.
Two others reportedly jumped off the overpass and headed for the bushes leading to the Cipero River.
Spent 5.56 shells from a high-powered rifle were recovered at the scene.
Overnight, a fourth suspect was detained in a white B14 near Laing Services, Retrench Village. Police believe he may have been waiting on the other two bandits to exit from the river which runs nearby.
Around 4 am on Saturday, another suspect was held by officers as he came out of the bushes in Duncan Village.
Operations are being led by Snr Supt Richard Smith of the Southern Division, Snr Supt Subhash Ramkhelawan and Supt Parriman of the PoS CID, and ASP Jaikaran and Insp Philip.
The two detained suspects are said to be from the Central area.
This is not the first robbery at that store.
In June 2018, gunmen ambushed staffers as they arrived to open the store around 6 am. They stole cash from a vault, and left. A man was later arrested and charged in connection with that robbery.
Again in August 2022, a female member of staff was held up at gunpoint by two men, as she arrived for work around 5 am.
On that occasion, the men also forced their way into the store, took her to a room where they stole an undisclosed sum of money, tied up the manager who was also present, and left. The manager later alerted the police.
In April 2022, as well, Massy Stores confirmed that it was the target of a cybersecurity attack.
Investigations are continuing as police search for the remaining suspects.