Jensen La Vende
AFTER stealing some $250,000 worth of electronics and other items from 150 WebSource customers on Tuesday, thieves mixed up their “inventory” and returned items that had not been stolen from the company.
Police said after a warning from acting ACP Roger Alexander, head of the Port of Spain Division, on Tuesday, the bandits bundled the items into garbage bags and dropped them off at Express House, Independence Square.
Alexander cautioned the criminals during the police’s Beyond The Tape TV programme, which is recorded at Express House.
Speaking with Newsday on Thursday, WebSource CEO Lincoln Maharaj said the criminals kept the majority of the items they had stolen, and padded the garbage bags with “fillers.”
On Tuesday, police said a 35-year-old security guard who works for Dynamite Security Services was on duty at the WebSource compound at the Trincity Business Park that morning when five bandits, two of whom had guns, stormed the guard booth and announced a robbery.
They tied up the guard and cut open several metal doors to different warehouses, stealing packages and escaping in two Toyota Hiace vans. One van was found emptied and abandoned at Wharton Street, at around 10.45 am, and the other on Sylbert Street, Laventille, at around 11 am.
“The bandits or whoever was in receipt of the packages, they were clever enough to send garbage. What they surrendered is not what was entirely stolen. When we checked we realised that those things were probably things stolen in another job, and now was a good time to get rid of it.”
Maharaj said the stolen goods included 12 televisions, iPads, car parts and clothes.
What was returned included Christmas decorations belonging to him, a playpen set and a printer, stationery and copybooks.
Maharaj said his love for his customers made him decide to reimburse every customer affected who provided the necessary documentation to prove their package was stolen. He said he was not waiting on insurance, but was footing the bill upfront and will receive his compensation whenever insurance pays.
This, he said, goes for all affected, whether they took out insurance on their packages or not. Cheques will be delivered from Friday, he said, and customers had already been contacted to collect their refund.
“When I was told what I happened, I was contented to hear they only stole two vans. What really hit me a punch in my gut is when we realised they went in the warehouse and thief some items. I was willing to lose two new vans worth $500,000 (rather) than the customers’ goods valued at only $250,000.”
Maharaj said his company has fortified its security to ensure this does not recur.
Responding to social media concerns that people could use this incident to get out of buying gifts for Christmas, Maharaj said the reimbursement will allow them to buy replacements, so there will be no excuses.