Sunday, February 25, 2018

No headway in robbery, murder investigation

$3m Sentinel Security hold-up


KILLED: Bert Clarke

Mark Fraser

MORE than two months have passed since the brazen multi-million-dollar heist involving a Sentinel Security vehicle in Trincity which left a veteran security officer dead, but to date, police are yet to apprehend the men responsible for carrying out the robbery and murder.

And despite Crime Stoppers offering a $1 million reward to anyone who could provide information leading to the arrest of the men who escaped with more than $3 million, no one has come forward with any useful information.

An official from Crime Stoppers told the Express that since an advertisement of the reward was placed in all three daily newspapers in December, a number of people have come forward claiming to know the men who carried out the crime.

However, those pieces of information were only mere attempts by the informants to cash in on the $1 million reward, said the official.

Since the day of the incident on November 27, police have questioned a number of people, including the driver of the security van who escaped the robbery unhurt, but was later released.

A gang leader from Beetham Gardens, Port of Spain, was also taken in for questioning, but he too was subsequently released.

Assistant Estate Supt Bert Clarke, 59, was murdered during the robbery which occurred along the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway close to Johnson and Johnson.

Around 4.30 a.m. that day the unarmoured Sentinel security panel van was travelling along the highway enroute to Piarco International Airport when it was struck from behind by a black Ford Ranger.

When the driver of the security van stopped, the robbers approached and opened fire, killing Clarke on the spot while his colleague fled and hid in some nearby bushes. The robbers raided the van, making off with six bags of cash.

The money, which was insured, was destined for the Tobago branches of all the country’s major commercial banks.

Police said the robbery was well orchestrated and of a sophisticated nature as the robbers had placed bags of cement in the tray of the Ford Ranger in order to stabalise it after crashing into the back of the security vehicle.

The Ranger, which was abandoned following the robbery was later identified as a stolen vehicle.

In 2011, Sentinel Security vehicles were robbed six times, of weapons as well as cash being transported.