TWO fugitives were yesterday recaptured hours apart after being on the run from police following their alleged escape from prison earlier this year.
One of the men, a murder accused, and the other, a suspect in several house break-ins in the Glencoe and Westmoorings areas, including the home of Congress of the People (COP) member Rocky Garcia, were held at Beetham Estate and Cocorite, respectively.
The murder accused, 31-year-old Leston Elvis, was arrested after a manhunt in the Laventille area around 7 a.m., while the other man was held around 10.30 a.m. in a sting operation as he was about to board a pirogue to travel to Venezuela, police said.
Elvis is charged with the murder of Lennox Bellerand Junior, who was shot and killed at Success/Laventille Health Centre on November 12, 2009.
He is also charged with escaping from Port of Spain General Hospital, St Ann's Psychiatric Hospital and Port of Spain Prison on Frederick Street. Those offences are alleged to have taken place in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
On October 8, this year, Elvis also allegedly escaped custody while being taken from Siparia Magistrates' Court.
Yesterday, close to 100 police and regiment personnel, led by ASP Ajith Persad and Insp Sahadeo Singh, embarked on a search for Elvis at Upper Wharton Street, Laventille.
Police had received information he was hiding out in an abandoned house in the area.
Officers said at around 5 a.m. they attempted to surround the house, which was located in a bushy area, but were greeted by gunfire after which three men, including Elvis, ran from the house.
Police returned fire, but Elvis eluded capture for a short while by running through the bushy terrain, across the Priority Bus Route (PBR), and into Beetham Estate.
With the assistance of the Air Support Unit, police said they were able to find Elvis's exact location before closing in on him at 18th Street, Beetham Estate around 7 a.m.
When found, Elvis had several bruises about his body which police believe he sustained from running through the forested area. He also had what appeared to be a gunshot wound to his abdomen.
Following his arrest, Elvis was taken to Port of Spain General Hospital where he remained warded under police guard up to yesterday evening.
Officers said, upon being discharged, he will be handed over to officers at Siparia Police Station and charged with escaping legal custody.
In the second incident, Western Division officers, led by Snr Supt Ishmael David and Insp Henry Dann, conducted a sting operation at the fish depot in Cocorite, leading to the arrest of the 27-year-old house-breaking and robbery suspect.
Investigators said on Tuesday night, they received information that the suspect would be boarding a pirogue close to the depot to head to Venezuela.
Officers said they camped out in the area and at around 10.30 a.m. they saw a car with three male occupants, including the suspect, pull up close to the depot.
The officers moved in and arrested all three men before taking them to Four Roads Police Station.
The suspect was wanted on upward of 20 warrants for house-breaking, robbery and assault. He was also wanted for breaking out of Port of Spain Prison on June 6.
Contacted yesterday, Garcia, whose home was broken into on October 16 and his wife and 14-year-old daughter robbed, said he had to commend the team of police officers and also members of the Glencoe and Westmoorings community for the role they played in the suspect's arrest.
"The police officers did an excellent job. They really did work around the clock to make sure that he was arrested for these crimes, but we must also give credit to the residents in the area and the business community for working together with the police in having this suspect apprehended," Garcia said.
He said the residents had embarked on an initiative in the area to rid the community of criminals and criminal-related activities.
"This just goes to show what could happen when citizens work together with the police. I mean, what people were going through in Glencoe was frightening. People were scared to be in their own homes. But we have embarked on this initiative and it is here to stay. This is not the end. Out of darkness must come light," said Garcia.