THE St Andrew North Police have launched a manhunt for three gunmen who held a family hostage for about two hours at a house in Havendale, St Andrew on Wednesday night.
Two of the gunmen trailed a teenage girl on her way home from school about 4:00 pm and barged into the premises as her mother opened the electronic gate to let the child inside the Highland Drive home.
Police report that the men pulled guns and tied up the teenage girl and her younger brother while holding the woman at gunpoint. The crooks also pistol-whipped an elderly man who was also inside the house.
The family's ordeal continued as two of the men ransacked a section of the building they occupied and demanded cash and other valuables.
A third man stood guard in the backyard as his cronies carried out their nefarious act.
But the situation could have turned uglier as another man who lives in the house was dropped off by relatives to pick up a document.
The man walked straight into the robbery and was also held at gunpoint by the robbers, who ordered him to his room and began searching for cash and valuables.
The robbers managed to relieve the man of his monthly salary and were in the process of stealing two laptop computers when a police team arrived on the scene and questioned the man's relatives, who were sitting in a motorcar outside, about whether they knew what was happening inside.
That was when the occupants of the vehicle realised that a robbery was in progress inside.
The robbers soon realised that the police were closing in on them and made good their escape by scaling a high wall and running onto nearby Mannings Hill Road.
The thieves took the cash but left the other items. They also left a red motorbike parked at the front of the house.
The police have since seized the motorbike and were busy searching for clues on Wednesday night, while a team from the St Andrew North Criminal Investigation Branch patrolled sections of Havendale and Mannings Hill Road in search of the gunmen.
One of the individuals who were sitting in the motorcar waiting on the relative expressed gratitude that no one was hurt in the incident.
"We are just glad that no life was lost. It could have turned out ugly and we started to panic when we realised that a robbery was in progress. We have to be thankful that although they got money, everyone is safe," the relative told the Jamaica Observer.