JENSEN LA VENDE and KALIFA CLYNE
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Kung Fu Grandpa
An 81-year-old businessman fought off two bandits during a daring home invasion yesterday, by kicking one of them so hard that they both fled the scene with whatever they had managed to grab before trying to subdue him in their Princes Town home.
With one bandit pinning him to the floor and the other smothering his mouth, and his wife screaming for help, father of ten Basdeo “Barrelman” Paltoo mustered all the strength he could find and kicked one of his attackers so hard in the chest that both of them fled, bolting through an open window and falling eight feet to the ground before escaping.
“I don’t get frightened too easily, I am not afraid to die,” Paltoo told the T&T Guardian hours after the bandits made off with cash and other items yesterday. The Paltoos operate the Paltoo and Son’s Barrel Shop at their Naparima Mayaro Road home. Although Basdeo was able to maintain a smile throughout the interview, his 76-year-old wife Dolly admitted the ordeal was too traumatic for her.
Police said two bandits entered the couple’s home around 2 am by climbing onto a barrel and removing three louvres near the roof of their house. One suspect slipped through the narrow opening and opened the front door for the other to enter. They were able to take out $200, ceramic ornaments valued at $300, a cellphone and several packs of cigarettes before returning to the house. By then, however, Paltoo had heard noises coming from their living room and went to investigate.
“I heard ‘click!’ ‘click!,’ so I got up and opened my door. But the fellah was standing there already,” he said. “I ran back in the bedroom and I started to make noise. The first fellah ran behind me and pushed me down to the ground and the second fellah came and he put his hand over my mouth. “While they held me down, I hit one of them a kick in his chest. From the time the fellah got that kick, both of them ran and jumped through the window.”
Paltoo managed to smile throughout the interview, but Dolly was not as excited about the ordeal. “When I saw the men holding him down, I started knock the ply hard and I was calling my son in the other room. I said ‘Ravi get up, look it have thieves inside the house,’” Dolly said. However, by the time Ravi came out the bandits had already escaped.
Paltoo said he could not see the bandits clearly because the house was in darkness. He said one suspect wore a hoodie while the other had a long hat on his head. He said he suspects the bandits may be teenagers from the area. Recapping the event, he said the break-in happened less than 30 minutes after the barbecue outlet next door had closed. He said the bandits must have known there was an elderly couple and that they could have accessed the house from through the window.
No one was arrested yesterday, but the couple’s son, Robin, said one the thieves cut himself on the window while fleeing and another left fingerprints on one of the louvres. He said he hopes the police can trace the evidence left behind. Relatives who gathered at the home said they were afraid that the thieves might return, however, so they were making arrangement to install burglar-proofed windows. Despite this, Paltoo said: “I have a different view on these things. I say that when it is my time to die, it is my time.
“I am not afraid to die. I am 81 now, I have already done everything. I have worked and raised ten children, I am ready anytime.” Princes Town detective PC Mohammed is continuing investigations.