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Monday 24 June 2019
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Two held for attempted bank robbery

A technician at a security company in Port of Spain, who is suspected of masterminding the attempted robbery at the Arima branch of First Citizens Bank (FCB) on Monday, was detained on Tuesday. He is assisting Northern Division police in connection with the incident. The suspect, who is in his late 20s, was part of a team of technicians assigned to install the internal security system at the bank. Police also detained a man suspected of being his accomplice. They were being kept in separate police stations in the Northern Division yesterday.

The burglars entered the bank early on Monday by cutting a hole through the roof, then unscrewed the light bulbs to prevent the surveillance cameras from capturing the attempted burglary in progress. They then tried to break into the vaults inside the automated teller machines but were unsuccessful. All they managed to leave with was a bulletproof vest left behind by a security officer who worked the day before. An employee arrived at work at about 7.15 am and saw a hole in the roof and a report was made. Arima police went to the scene and lifted fingerprints.

The men in custody were expected to be questioned yesterday by Northern Division and Port of Spain CID under acting Snr Supt Ajith Persad and ACP Irwin Hackshaw. Investigators believe the technician may be part of a group who get hired by reputable companies to set up security alarms at homes and business places, then return, disarm the security devices and steal valuables.

Recently members of the Banking Association met with the police to discuss strategies to deal with bank-vault robberies and new measures were to be put in place.

On September 24, burglars using a blowtorch cut a hole in the Montrose branch of First Citizens Bank, then cut open a vault and escaped with over $3.5 million.The robbery was only discovered at 9 am the following day, when bank staff received a call saying there was a gaping hole in the side of the building. Bank officials found one of the vaults cut open and the cash missing.

Central Division police and acting Police Commissioner Harold Phillip were called in and a team under Persad is investigating.

After that robbery an attempt was made to rob the ATM machine at Caparo and a Valencia labourer was detained after investigation by Persad and other police.

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