Gasparillo JP, daughter, beaten, robbed at gunpoint

Owner of Ding Hardware in Gasparillo, Raffie
Owner of Ding Hardware in Gasparillo, Raffie "Ding" Mohammed, 67, and his 35-year-old daughter, Aleema Mohammed speaks with newsday on Wednesday following a robbery at his business place on Tuesday. - Photo by Marvin Hamilton

Gasparillo police are searching for six men who beat and robbed a 67-year-old businessman and his daughter at gunpoint on Tuesday.

Raffie "Ding" Mohammed, the owner of Ding Hardware at Caratal Road, Gasparillo, told Newsday the incident left them deeply traumatised.

Mohammed, who is also a justice of the peace, told the police he was sitting in the hardware store at around 1.30 pm on Tuesday when a silver-gray wagon reverseparked in front of the business. Two men got out and walked inside. One asked for two bags of cement.

As soon as he stood up to get the cement, three more men walked in and announced a hold-up. The driver remained in the car.

"They had guns. They told me to lie on the ground and were asking for money and jewellery. They started to beat me. Right now, my back is still hurting because they were pressing their feet on my back," he said on Wednesday.

Just minutes earlier, the police were at his business in connection with his role as a JP.

He said he is well known, and the bandits did not appear to be from the area.

While Newsday was interviewing Mohammed, several customers walked in to find out he was all right, as word of the robbery had spread in the community.

Mohammed added that while he was on the ground, his 35-year-old daughter Aleema Mohammed walked in, unaware that a robbery was in progress.

On seeing the gunmen, she started to scream.

Mohammed said, "One cuffed her in the face, telling her to stop screaming. She too had to lie on the floor."

The men spotted a male worker outside speaking on his cell phone, and they robbed Mohammed of an undisclosed amount of cash before getting back into the car. The car drove out along Caratal Road and onto Hunger March Road.

The police hope video footage can help them arrest the men.

Neither Mohammed nor his daughter had gone for medical attention up to Wednesday afternoon.

"The police are always here on business. But Gasparillo needs more patrols, because it seems things are getting out of hand," Mohammed said.

Investigations are ongoing.

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