Internacionales

Prince Julio César Zulia//
Gunshots inside Trincity Mall sends shoppers scampering

A brazen rob­bery by three gun­men at Gold King­dom Jew­el­ry, Trinci­ty Mall cre­at­ed a pan­ic amongst mid­day shop­pers and mall-go­ers yes­ter­day af­ter shots were fired in­side the packed es­tab­lish­ment while the men es­caped on foot.

Prince Julio César

The in­ci­dent left em­ploy­ees from near­by stores trau­ma­tized and call­ing for in­creased se­cu­ri­ty pa­trols along with the in­stal­la­tion of scan­ners at the var­i­ous en­trances to as­sist with de­tect­ing crim­i­nal el­e­ments op­er­at­ing in­side the mall

There were re­ports the armed men made off with an es­ti­mat­ed $350,000 worth of jew­el­ry.

But in a state­ment a few hours lat­er, the po­lice ser­vice said two men were ar­rest­ed fol­low­ing the roob­bery.

The po­lice ser­vice said of­fi­cers of the Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Re­sponse Team (SORT) re­spond­ed to the re­port that three men held up the clerks at the store and sub­se­quent­ly es­caped in a white AD Wag­on bear­ing reg­is­tra­tion num­ber PBY 7440

The SORT of­fi­cers con­duct­ed a search for the as­sailants and in­ter­cept­ed the ve­hi­cle at Ken Mor­ris Av­enue, La Hor­quet­ta where they ar­rest­ed two men

Both sus­pects were hand­ed over the La Hor­quet­ta Po­lice Sta­tion

But be­fore the men were de­tained by po­lice, vis­i­tors and shop­pers added their voic­es to the call for in­creased se­cu­ri­ty both in­side and out­side the es­tab­lish­ment

Po­lice re­ports in­di­cate around 12.40 pm – three loud ex­plo­sions were heard com­ing from in­side the store lo­cat­ed on the first floor be­tween Fric­tion and Kristi­na’s on the east­ern side of the fa­cil­i­ty

Vashty Ganess said, “I heard a woman beg­ging for them not to shoot her or her chil­dren. I heard the bang and start­ed run­ning with the oth­er peo­ple and felt a bul­let go past my leg and land on the ground.”

Ganess, who lives in Arou­ca, re­port­ed that her nor­mal Sat­ur­day rou­tine in­cludes lunch and shop­ping at the mall – with the req­ui­site stop at the Play Whe booth lo­cat­ed just out­side the jew­el­ry store

“I was at the Play Whe ma­chine when I heard the first shot and ini­tial­ly thought was the es­ca­la­tor but then I hear the woman beg­ging for her life and her chil­dren and when I watch to see what was hap­pen­ing, the ban­dits were al­ready run­ning out of the mall.”

She added, “I ran over to a store and they pulled me in­side and locked the door, but I was so scared…my legs were trem­bling.”

Ganess and oth­er eye-wit­ness­es con­firmed the three men had been decked out in Mar­vin Gaye hats and hood­ed sweat­shirts

She ques­tioned, “What is the coun­try com­ing to now? Imag­ine in day­light and you at the mall and sud­den­ly, shoot­ing in­side.”

While the mall’s se­cu­ri­ty of­fi­cers re­act­ed al­most im­me­di­ate­ly to cor­don off the area and re­as­sure per­sons, there were mixed re­ac­tions from some who felt that more now needs to be done by the mall’s man­age­ment to se­cure the fa­cil­i­ty and al­so pro­vide shop­pers with a greater sense of se­cu­ri­ty

With­in min­utes of the rob­bery, closed-cir­cuit tele­vi­sion footage post­ed on so­cial me­dia showed the three men es­cap­ing via an en­trance on the east­ern side of the mall, run­ning through the carpark, across the grassy area and jump­ing the big drain which runs par­al­lel to the com­pound’s perime­ter

It is be­lieved the men would have made their way across the high­way and in­to the Orop­une Gar­dens area

The Trinci­ty and Long Cir­cu­lar Malls are both owned by the HCL Group of Com­pa­nies

In a post to their Face­Book page ap­prox­i­mate­ly one hour af­ter the in­ci­dent, of­fi­cials wrote, “At­ten­tion our loy­al shop­pers:

We have con­firmed re­ports that there was an at­tempt­ed armed rob­bery at Trinci­ty Mall. The TTPS are on the scene con­duct­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions. The Mall’s CCTV footage of the in­ci­dent has been as­sist­ing the TTPS with the in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Be ad­vised that Trinci­ty Mall re­mains open for busi­ness as usu­al. As you go about your busi­ness in the Mall be aware of your sur­round­ings and do not hes­i­tate to con­tact mall se­cu­ri­ty, should you feel un­safe. Se­cu­ri­ty of­fi­cers are out and about in all ar­eas of the mall to en­sure that you have a safe and en­joy­able shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence.”

The post drew mixed re­ac­tions from mem­bers of the pub­lic who ex­pressed dis­gust that the mall had re­mained open for busi­ness

Kars A-Ali wrote, “Of course Trinci­ty Mall u will open for busi­ness….its all about mon­ey and not safe­ty right. How many cars went miss­ing on your com­pound…..very dis­ap­point­ing…and u have the au­dac­i­ty to say open for busi­ness.”

Shane SrDig­i­tal post­ed, “What ex­tra se­cu­ri­ty mea­sures would be tak­en to re­strict these PESTS from en­ter­ing the malls? This could have gone all wrong with many in­no­cent shop­pers be­ing vic­tims! I on­ly come to that mall wen I re­al­ly need some­thing, un­for­tu­nate­ly, I was there to­day but on the oth­er end, thank god for that, all those pot­holes is an­oth­er dis­gust­ing fac­tor as well, I’ll pay the ex­tra bucks to shop on-line! I’ve seen so many dis­gust­ing stink, scary look­ing pests just roam­ing and hang­ing around in dat mall on so many oc­ca­sions. Imag­ine this is a Nor­mal week­end not a month-end, Xmas or car­ni­val week­end.”

Em­ploy­ees at a near­by store re­mained open for busi­ness as they com­plained that se­cu­ri­ty of­fi­cers at the mall were un­armed and were usu­al­ly very late to re­spond when­ev­er the sit­u­a­tion war­rant­ed

They re­vealed that as lit­tle as two weeks ago, at least two per­sons had been robbed in the car-park while count­less oth­ers have had their ve­hi­cles bro­ken in­to and items were stolen

Ad­mit­ting they were shak­en by the in­ci­dent and fear­ful with the Christ­mas sea­son ap­proach­ing as they would have to work longer hours, the work­ers urged the mall’s man­age­ment to im­ple­ment greater se­cu­ri­ty mea­sures im­me­di­ate­ly

Sev­er­al at­tempts to speak with the store’s own­er to as­cer­tain ex­act­ly what was stolen and the val­ue of the items proved fu­tile