Casino owner, employee beaten in $30,000 robbery - Monday 11th of December 2006

For ten minutes, two bandits held the Venezuelan manager of a St James casino and several employees at gunpoint yesterday.

They beat him with a gun butt until he opened a vault on the upper floor and handed over the workers payroll.

The two bandits rang the doorbell of the St James Private Members Club around 11.30 a.m. at Western Main Road and Brunton Road.

Manager Ismario Cardoza and two employees were alone in the casino at the time. As an employee answered the door, he was punched in the eye and overpowered, as the men-one armed with a gun -rushed in.

Three other employees arrived shortly after and each one was held at bay, as Cardoza was forced to open a vault.

Investigators said the two men knew the workings of the casino and headed straight for the first floor vault.

There were no working cameras monitoring the front door according to a witness, who also said while one man wore a cap, they wore no masks.

Workers were expected to be paid yesterday and their salary was said to have been prepared and kept in the vault which held the bandits interest. An unofficial count of the cash together with employees jewelry was said to be $30,000.

Following the robbery the men reportedly walked out of the building.

Cardoza was later rushed to the Port of Spain General Hospital, where he received several stitches to wounds on his head.

Corporal Rampersad of the St James CID is investigating.

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