An armed bandit appears to be on the loose in the Ottos area, after two reported incidents, one on Saturday, the other yesterday morning in which residents were accosted and robbed.
Reports indicate a lone gunman broke into a house on Scaville Street near Wato Disco shortly after 3 am while the occupants, a 45-year-old man, his wife and children, were asleep.
The Daily OBSERVER understands a witness to the burglary called 911 and reported the crime while it was still in progress.
The eyewitness said she saw the burglar wrestling with the backdoor and she informed a friend, who summoned police.
?The people have a little retail shop in front the house and the man was around the other side of the house standing by the back door. I know something was wrong because he was wearing a mask and had a shiny gun. So right away, I told my friend to call the police. When we called, they came almost right away and then I hear gunshots firing.?
The woman?s account corresponds with the police report that when they arrived on the scene, the burglar opened fire, exited through the back and scaled the fence on the western side of the property.
The lawmen returned fire but the gunman managed to escape.
Another resident recounted, ?Me min a sleep in me bed and all I hear was bam! Bam! Bam! I run under the bed because it sounded like the shooting was right outside me door.?
Further reports from the villager are that the gunman held the occupants of the house at gunpoint and took with him a quantity of money that was in the female occupant?s purse.
The shooter was reportedly wearing dark long pants and dark camouflage t-shirt at the time and was described as being about six feet tall.
In the other incident, at about 3:55 am Saturday, another resident living on Baldwin Street Ottos reported that a lone masked gunman broke into his home and stole a quantity of US and EC currency. The victim said he heard a ?shuffling? coming from outside his bedroom, so he got out of bed and observed that the gate at the entrance of the property was opened.
?I went outside and come face-to-face with a masked man who was holding a shiny gun in his hand. He shouted ?Hey? and I shout back ?Hey, what the hell you doing in my yard? and then I run back inside the house and shut the door. I also called out to everybody in the house to lock up dem room and secure the place and raise an alarm with all the neighbours,? the man recalled.
He added several of his neighbours rushed out their homes only to be confronted by the gun- wielding bandit who pointed his weapon around and threatened to shoot if they did not return behind doors.
The man said, ?I just fed up with everything happening in Ottos. I didn?t even realise the man had already come into the house when I saw him outside. It?s later when we checked, we see he thief all me father US money and me sister money from she bag. He left me father pants and me sister bag by the pipe and go.?
Acting Police Public Relations Officer Corporal Frankie Thomas said, ?The police need information and in a timely manner because there is an armed man on the loose and surely he is looking to prey on some unfortunate person.?
The corporal also said, ?We want to reiterate that we, the police, cannot do it alone. We are begging the public?s co-operation so that we can all sleep in peace. We can walk in peace and people can do business without fear of being robbed. The more information we have, the better equipped we are to solving crimes.?
Corporal Thomas said the police are of the view persons have information but are afraid to come forward. He is assuring that ?information will be treated with strict confidence. We really need the persons to get on board and assist in solving crimes and restore Antigua to a tranquil community.?
He also issued a reminder to criminals, and also to those who aid and abet in crime: ?You who commit crime and you responsible for assisting others to commit crime, the eyes of the law are seeing you??
Persons who have any information that could assist in brining the perpetrator(s) of this or any other crime to justice are urged to visit or call the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) at the St John?s Police Station at 462-3913/14, Police Headquarters on American Road at 462-0125, Crime Stoppers at 800-TIPS (8477) or the nearest police station.