Bank robber owns up
WITHIN MOMENTS of robbing the Wildey, St Michael branch of the Barbados National Bank (BNB), Tsungai Vasco Bishop and his ill-gotten gains were in police custody.
Yesterday, mere weeks after he first appeared in the Bridgetown Magistrates’ Court for the November 22 bank heist, Bishop was confessing his sins to the No. 4 Supreme Court.
The 24-year-old of Ocean View Road, Spooners Hill, St Michael, started to tell a story of how he was forced into aggravated burglary because of spiralling debt and in order to repay a fellow remand inmate, who had arranged for someone to sign his (Bishop’s) bail for a fee.
He had just admitted entering BNB Wildey, on November 22, and stealing $33 326, while armed with an imitation firearm.
He has one prior conviction for possession of drugs.
Justice William Chandler ordered a pre-sentencing report and remanded Bishop back to HMP Dodds pending the completion of the report. He returns to court on December 16.
Bishop explained he had “an incident concerning some cars” and had been remanded as a result.
He said he was granted bail but could only find one of two sureties.
However, another man who was on remand arranged for someone to sign his bail.
“He made an arrangement to receive $15 000 for signing the other bail and when I got out I gave the whole of my last cheque to him,” Bishop told the court.
He later added he wanted five cases of car theft and one case of theft of a laptop taken into consideration.
Director of Public Prosecutions Charles Leacock, QC, who appeared with Principal Crown Counsel Anthony Blackman, said Bishop walked into the bank at 8:55 a.m., pointed what the guard thought was a gun at him and said: “Be quiet. This is a robbery. Consider your family.”
Bishop went to four different tellers, pointed the gun at them and demanded money.
He ran out, went to a bus stop opposite the bank, and waited to catch a bus.
But on hearing the sirens, he ran behind a nearby building, changed his shirt and transferred the money to a different bag.
However, a customer who was in the bank during the hold-up saw Bishop and not only called police, but flagged down lawmen who were in a passing police vehicle.
They promptly arrested Bishop, who was still carrying the money.
In his confession statement, Bishop said he was in the holding area in October after being remanded on a string of car theft charges, when he overheard other inmates talking about “how Barbados National Bank Wildey is the ideal location to rob because of low security”.
“I found things were hard. I owed money to my aunt; my phone was overdue and I formulated the idea of the bank robbery ’cause I needed money real bad,” he dictated to police.
The bank robber further told police he took down his toy gun; cleaned it to make it look real; caught a route taxi to the bank and walked inside.
He made sure he kept the gun pointing down, so no one would realise it wasn’t real and he ordered tellers to give him the money.
When he was finished, “I cross the road to catch a bus and I heard sirens. I left and continued running.”
He said he noticed lawmen chasing him and he ran, falling twice.
“I stopped when police fired at me ’cause I became concerned for my safety.
“I didn’t get a chance to hide any of the money,” Bishop’s statement concluded.