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Duo hold-up Bel Air store after posing as customers

Two bandits posing as customers robbed a variety store at Bel Air on Monday morning at gunpoint as the proprietor was opening up.

Two armed men wearing hoods pulled over their faces robbed Ameena's Variety Store at Bel Air next door to Big G around 6 am. No one was injured during the hold-up and the men escaped with just over $10,000.

Buddy Ramdat, proprietor of the store, said yesterday that he was in the process of opening his store when a young man walked in and asked for a bottle of water.

"It was about 6 am and I was now opening the store. Everywhere was locked except for the front entrance so he walked in and asked for the water. I was selling him when he held me up," Ramdat related.

At the time, the cage inside was open. Ramdat said the man gave him $1,000 for the water and he went to make change. On his return to the cage, he passed the money out and the man grabbed his hand.

Forcefully, he said, the man gripped his hand and tried to pin him down to the counter but he managed to free himself and run. As he was making his way to the kitchen, Ramdat said, another man appeared at the cage and within seconds the two pulled guns on him and ordered him to stop running.

However as he continued towards the kitchen the men threatened to shoot. Ramdat then made a dash for it. He said his wife was inside the kitchen. Upon entering the kitchen, the storeowner said he started screaming for help.

While he was in the kitchen, the men climbed through the cage and got inside the store. They ran through his drawers and robbed him of over $10,000.

Ramdat said he had more cash in the drawers and the men tried to take that as well but while they were fleeing they dropped the rest of the loot. He said the two left without firing any rounds.

He has no idea how they left but he is relieved they didn't venture beyond the store area.

It was the first time in the 30 years of running his store that Ramdat was robbed. After the robbery Ramdat said he continued business as usual.