Police moved in at the Heights of Guanapo yesterday, arresting three looters at the Lighthouse of the Lord Jesus Christ church. The thieves are expected to appear before an Arima Magistrate on Monday, charged with larceny. Northern Division Task Force officers who were on patrol around 5 am spotted the thieves, police said. Up to late yesterday evening, the men were being held at the Arima Police Station.
Looters cut open two containers on the compound and removed hinges, bolts and doors. Yesterday afternoon, a truck was parked a short distance away from the compound, with a welding gas tank looted from the church in the tray. There was a pile of scaffolding on the ground. Police patrols have been stepped up, after complaints by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan.
Residents reported seeing an army truck on the compound around 8 am yesterday morning with officers on patrol. Two officers from the Arima Police Station were also at the site for most of the day. They said they were awaiting acting Commissioner of Police James Philbert who was expected to visit the site. The officers left around 3 am when Philbert did not show up.
Philbert was out of the country, the Guardian learned. Deputy Commissioner Stephen Williams is acting as the CoP. At a post-Cabinet press conference on Thursday afternoon, Ramlogan accused Philbert of declining to act on looting and other acts of lawlessness at the church. However, there have been questions concerning the ownership of the property and the owner making a report of theft at the site.