A 30-year- old woman, Helena Hawa Swaray, who allegedly arm robbed the Broad Street Branch of First International Bank (FIB) of US$236,584 and L$3,306,997 has been sent to jail at the Monrovia Central Prison (MCP) to await trial. Hawa Swaray was arrested on March 2 by officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) at her Bassa Community residence in Monrovia following a hunt for her that lasted for nearly three months.
Defendant Swaray was picked up after one of the private guards, Peter Kollie, assigned at the Presbyterian Church wing attached to the west end of the bank’s fence, identified her as the person who asked him to allow her to use the church’s bathroom to attend to nature the night the bank was reportedly robbed.
Suspect Swaray was arrested along with Harris Quollin, David Jallah, Alexander Jerry, Mark Wilson and Emmanuel Ogozie, alleged accomplices.
Other defendants, who reportedly robbed the bank on December 12, 2015, along with the female suspect were only identified as D-Boy, Old Papay, Papie and Raza.
Their arrest and subsequent detention was based on a complaint filed to the LNP by Madam Rhonda Richards von Ballmoos, the bank’s Deputy Managing Director.
In the complaint, Madam von Ballmoos alleges that on December 12, 2015, while her staff was out of the office for the night, some unknown individuals including defendant Swaray, armed with a short single barrel gun, cutlasses and other deadly weapons robbed the bank.
Police said during the investigation, all of the defendants were paraded in the presence of Kollie, who identified defendant Swaray among the accused because he interacted with her prior to the commission of the crime.
Kollie also informed the investigators that Swaray and her group tied him up and placed him in the church bathroom.
Before that, Kollie alleged that Swaray entered the church compound and identified herself as Princess, a member of the Presbyterian Church, with its fence adjacent to the bank.
Based on that information, Kollie claimed that he allowed the suspect to enter the church yard. He stated that while entering, Swaray’s accomplices followed her and held him at “gun point.”
When they entered the church compound, the court records allege, Swaray and her group walked directly to the fence between the bank and the church.
“When they got hold of the vault,” the document alleges, “Suspect Swaray and her colleagues used an instrument believed to be a hack saw to cut the protective steel bar from the bathroom window thus forcibly opening the pre-vault wooden door. They subsequently used an oxygen tank to cut the main vault and allegedly made away with US$236,584 and L$3,306,997.
Police claim that during the investigation, defendants Harris Quollin informed the police that on December 15, 2015, he bought a grey Nissan Pathfinder Jeep (2001 model) valued at US$6,200, the only money accounted for so far.
Meanwhile, the defendants remain in prison awaiting trial.