NEWS

Holiday Turns Into Nightmare For Couple

United States Fijian couple Pratibha and Praveen Maharaj were enjoying their Fijian holiday until three men pounced on their car on Friday night. The men allegedly robbed them of $10,000
22 May 2016 10:45
Holiday Turns Into Nightmare For Couple
Couple robbed on Friday night Pratibha Maharaj and Praveen Maharaj. Photo: SHAHANI MALA.

United States Fijian couple Pratibha and Praveen Maharaj were enjoying their Fijian holiday until three men pounced on their car on Friday night.

The men allegedly robbed them of $10,000 worth of assorted items including jewellery and cash.

“This was the most terrible experience of  our lives,” Pratibha said.

Despite the incident, they have vowed to come back.

“We had never experienced such incident before,” they said.

The Maharajs have lived in San Francisco, California for the last 21 years.

They were getting into their vehicle at Kaba Street in Samabula, Suva, when they were attacked. They were going to attend a prayer at the Samabula Temple.

Items such as phones, assorted jewellery, cash, their passports and foreign currency were stolen. The men also took the key of the rental car.

Mr Maharaj, was a former Police officer here, said: “I was ready to leave my house with my wife to attend a prayer at the Samabula Temple.

“When I came out of my house, I saw our house gate was open and questioned my wife how the gate was open. She replied that by mistake she had accidentally pressed the open button of the gate remote.

“I told my wife this is not good sign and anyone can enter our house or even come to our car,” he said.

Mr Kumar suspected and he rushed to his car and his wife followed him.

“I got inside my car and closed the door when all of a sudden a man came and opened the door of my car and saw a long arm coming towards ignition key of my car.

“He pulled out the key but I held his hand and I was trying to stop him from taking the key.

“I was in my car and struggled to stop him from taking the keys. In that struggle, I finally managed to come out,” he said.

Mr Kumar said another two men came and attacked him.

“They pushed me towards the wall and tried to take whatever I had in my pocket.

“One of the suspects attacked my wife while I was struggling to stop them to take wallet and phone out of my pocket,” he said.

Mrs Maharaj said she was about to close the door of her side of the vehicle when one of the suspects came towards her and asked her for her purse.

“I was holding my purse very tight because it had our identification cards, passport, my jewellery and cash.

“I then came out of my car and the suspect pulled my purse and I tried in vain to stop the suspect from taking my purse.

“But I had to let it go because life is important than those items in my purse,” she said.

Mrs Maharaj said after taking her purse the suspect ran away.

“All this was happening with me, my husband was struggling to save his wallet and mobile phone.

“I then came from behind of the car and pulled the hand of one of the suspects.

“They were holding my husband very tight and they were trying to take his wallet and mobile phone,” she said.

Mrs Maharaj said she managed to free her husband from the suspects one of the suspects bit her hand. They managed to take his mobile phone but not the wallet.

“My father heard the noise and he was screaming for help from our neighbours.

“When one of our neighbours came, they all ran away,” she said.

Mr Maharaj said they ran after them but they disappeared.

Mrs Maharaj said they then reported the matter to the Police and she went to hospital.

Police are requesting foreign exchange outlets to keep a look out for anyone who they may come into contact with and are acting in a suspicious manner to call crime stoppers on 919.

 

Edited by Nemani Delaibatiki

Feedback:  shahani.mala@fijisun.com.fj

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