CNC3 television anchor Khamal Georges breathed a sigh of relief yesterday afternoon as his Kia Sportage SUV was returned to him after being twice stolen and recovered in a little over 24 hours.
Speaking with the T&T Guardian as he arrived outside the Central Police Station, in Port-of-Spain, to collect the vehicle yesterday afternoon, Georges said he was still recovering from the emotional rollercoaster he endured over the past few days.
“I keep replaying what happened in my mind but I think I am okay,” Georges said.
He explained that he was surprised when he first heard that the vehicle was “re-stolen” from where it was impounded outside the Besson Street Police Station on Thursday afternoon.
“I initially thought it was fake but then I eventually found out it was true. I was surprised but at that point what can you do,” Georges said.
Asked whether the bizarre development made him think that he was being specifically targeted, Georges said no as he claimed that he was just one of several victims who attended the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) opening match at the Queen’s Park Oval on Wednesday night.
“I believed they followed me home. I hope I am correct because it is easier to accept that theory over that I was being marked,” he said.
Asked his opinion of the police’s work in handling his unique experience, Georges said he was satisfied.
“People might be surprised by this but I think their response was good. In all my interactions with the police, all of the officers, who contacted me and worked on the case, kept in close contact and were really supportive and even apologetic as well,” Georges said.
He went on: “They gave me assurance that they would do everything in their power to ensure that the vehicle was found and they did.”
Questioned over his communications with newly appointed National Security Minister Stuart Young shortly after the robbery, Georges admitted that Young contacted him via Facebook as his phone was stolen.
“It was not a long conversation, he asked if I was okay and if I had my phone,” Georges said. Speaking at the post-Cabinet press briefing on Thursday, Young said that after learning of the incident he contacted senior police officers to ensure that the case was properly investigated.
While he could not say if his case was given special treatment, Georges said: “I am thankful that efforts were done, but I hope such efforts are given to other victims of crime.”
Georges’ statement came hours after outgoing acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams issued a public apology to him on behalf of the T&T Police Service.
According to a release from the TTPS’s public affairs unit, which highlighted the apology over George’s “re-victimisation”, an internal disciplinary process has been instituted into how the vehicle was stolen in front of the station, which is also located within a stone’s throw away from specialist police units housed at Riverside Plaza.
The release stated that police arrested 20-year-old suspect after the SUV was recovered, with fake licence plates, at Roget Place, St Barbs Road, yesterday morning.
However, police sources said that the suspect was, in fact, a 38-year-old, from Belmont. The suspect remained detained at the Port-of-Spain CID where he was being interrogated by detectives led by acting Senior Supt Ajith Persad and ASP Anderson Pariman.
The suspect is expected to be charged after he participates in identification parades over the weekend.
The vehicle was first stolen as Georges was ambushed by two gunmen as he returned to his home after the CPL game. After robbing him of his cellphone, wallet and car, Georges reportedly asked if they were willing to give him his identification cards and apartment key, which was in the car.
The men threatened Georges with the gun before driving away.
Georges ran to the St James Police Station where he made a report. The vehicle was eventually recovered by police at the Bath Street Plannings in Port-of-Spain.
The vehicle was impounded at the Besson Street Police Station as police refused to release it to Georges until he produced the certified copy.
Shortly before 6 pm, police officers at the station noticed that the vehicle was missing.
Police believe that the suspect used the key that was taken from George’s during the first robbery and not found when the car was first recovered.
Investigations are continuing.