Robert Hannibal, a shopkeeper from Sion Hill who ran out of his shop as armed robbers ran in, said he will not close his business because of lawless individuals.
On Thursday, July 19, at around 8 p.m., Hannibal and five persons were in his shop looking at a movie when three armed men barged into the establishment and stole goods while another armed man stood outside guarding the entrance.
Last Wednesday, Hannibal, who has been operating the shop since 1987, told SEARCHLIGHT that he was behind the counter and turned to get a cigarette to sell to a customer when he saw three masked men run into the shop.
“They came from up in the village and I say ‘this look like a robbery’, and one of them pelt a shot outside (discharged a gun),” recalled Hannibal, who said that as he ran away through a back door, he saw two of the men jump over the counter, while another one told his patrons to get on the ground.
He said that the robbers made off with several bottles of liquor (among them Campari, White Oak and Stone Wine), a box of tobacco wrapping paper, EC$460 cash, 80 one-dollar coins and EC$50 in 25 cent pieces.
“One of them plan (hit) a guy with a cutlass and tell him to leave. I feel real bad, because I don’t do nobody nothing, so I don’t know why them choose me,” Hannibal said, while adding that he is not scared to continue running his business, but he is of the belief that this will not be the last robbery at his shop.
“If ants getting sugar they will come back,” commented Hannibal, who also opined that the penalty for stealing and robbing is not severe enough.
“There should be harsher penalties for these crimes. This generation, is like plenty of them trying to impress girls and they want money for clothes and shoes and other things,” Hannibal stated.
He said that in moving forward, he would like to be issued a firearm license to be better able to defend himself. He is currently installing a security feature in his shop that will see him interacting with his customers through a wire barricade.
“I been here since 1987, and now is the only time I feel to put up this barricade, Trinidad style. I not taking no chances,” Hannibal noted, while adding that a lot of persons are scared when they hear about these sorts of crimes.
Hannibal’s ordeal came one day after the robbery of another shopkeeper, Wendy Bowman of Kingstown Park. In Bowman’s case, robbers made off with over EC$150 in cash, two cellular phones, groceries and other items valued at over EC$1,000.
During the robbery, Bowman and his friend Andy Gill were hit on the head with the butt of the gun by one of the three robbers sometime after 9 p.m., Wednesday, July 18. While the robbers were leaving the scene, they shot talk-show host Carlyle Douglas in the groin area.
A source claim that the police are looking into the possibility that the two robberies may have been carried out by the same persons.