Notorious robbery group from Manila behind pawnshop heist in Bacolod, says police

March 18, 2013 11:13 am 

ILOILO CITY, Mar. 17 – An organized crime group which gained notoriety in a series of big time robbery incidents in Metro Manila was believed to be behind Saturday's broad daylight hold-up of a pawnshop in Bacolod City.

Police said that the early morning heist caught detailed security guard flat-footed when five to eight armed men suddenly barged inside the F & C Pawnshop and Jewelry Store located along Gonzaga Street, Brgy. 21 in Bacolod City as the firm has just opened about 9 a.m. on Saturday.

The suspects immediately disarmed the guard and ordered him as well as pawnshop personnel to lie face down as the suspects crashed the crystal display frame using a tire range and a hammer and took turns in looting its content of assorted jewelries and cash.

Police said the group, believed to be a well organized crime syndicate, were armed with short and long firearms with several back-ups as they posted themselves outside the vicinity of the pawnshop amid the ongoing robbery which they accomplished in just several minutes.

The suspects reportedly covered their faces and were wearing hats to hide their physical identities from the video footage of CCTV camera.

Responding police recovered the hammer and the tire range left behind by suspects in the crime scene.

The Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) immediately launched a hot pursuit operation against the fleeing suspects believed to be members of the notorious Dipolog-Ozamis-Parohinog robbery group.

Few minutes later, the pursuing lawmen found the red-colored van get-away vehicle that was abandoned by suspects somewhere in Brgy. 34 with the driver identified as a certain Roland Tambutin inside the van, blind folded with his mouth gagged with packaging tape.

Based on information from witnesses, the group reportedly transferred onboard a black pick-up and sped away toward to an undetermined destination.

The van driver told police that the suspects rented the van from the Voyage rent-a-car three days prior to the hold-up incident. He said one of the suspects took hold of the vehicle’s steering wheel somewhere along Araneta Street in Bacolod City where he was gagged and blindfolded.

The police have yet to determine the estimated worth of assorted jewelries and cash carted away by the suspects.

Prior to the pawnshop heist, the BCPO had earlier warned owners of different business establishments on the reported presence of several members of the Dipolog-Ozamis-Parohinog robbery group in Bacolod City based on the information relayed by the Dumaguete City Police Office a week ago.

But it was unfortunate that the robbery group surprised the business community in Bacolod City when they staged the broad daylight robbery just a day after the BCPO OIC director met businessmen and discussed security measures relative to the reported presence of an organized crime group that operate nationwide.

Meanwhile, BCPO OIC director Senior Supt. Edgardo Ordaniel ordered his intelligence branch chief Senior Inspector Jose Mulleta relieved as an aftermath of the pawnshop robbery incident early Saturday morning. He was replaced by Inspector Mark Angelo Junco who took over the helm of BCPO’s intelligence unit.

Ordaniel also created a task force led by S/Supt. Ricardo De la Paz to investigate and track down the suspects who were believed holed in an undisclosed lair elsewhere in the city or province of Negros Occidental.

The task force likewise sealed all possible exits to be used by the suspects in their escape.

Police said that the group was also tagged as responsible in the daring broad daylight heist of the Central Negros Electric Cooperative (CENECO) last year where suspects looted the power firm of P3.6 million in cash.

They also believed that the group may have also a hand in the P4-million Sarabia Pawnshop daylight robbery along JM Basa-Guanco Strees, Iloilo City in mid January this year considering similar pattern the suspects employed in staging the heist in cahoot with local players. (PNA)

CTB/AJP/VLORQUIOLA

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