Bacolod police bust organized crime ring-A A +A
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
SIX theft suspects, alleged members of an organized crime group operating nationwide, were nabbed by operatives of Special Operations Group (SOG) inside a pension house at Mabini Street, Bacolod City, on Monday.
Another was also arrested in Gaisano City mall last Sunday. Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) Director Senior Supt. Ricardo de la Paz identified the suspects as Mercy Derla, 39, Jhon Palma, 24, Justine Pascual, 23, Jeffrey Longasa, 25, Joana Torres, 24, and Antonio De Luna, 20 all residents of Bagong Barrio, Caloocan City, and Diana Rose Blanza, 18, resident of Pinagbuhatan, Pasig City.
De la Paz said at 8 p.m., they received information from a concerned citizen that there were suspicious-looking personalities carrying several plastic bags staying in two pension houses at Mabini Street.
He said the suspects were Tagalog-speaking and had checked in at Rainbow and Monique Pension houses where they have been staying for almost three days already.
SOG operatives led by Police Superintendent Santiago Rapiz immediately responded in the area to validate the information that lead to the arrest of Derla, Palma, Pascual, Blanza, Longasa, and Torres.
De Luna was earlier also arrested by operatives of Station 8 led by P/S Inspector Jerick Filosofo last Sunday at Gaisano City mall for stealing assorted items.
Their companion Carlo Steve Cruz, 18, also of Bagong Barrio, Caloocan City, is also still at large, De la Paz said.
He said De Luna tried to hide his real name during his apprehension but, when the six suspects were presented to him, he admitted that he was a member of the said group.
Police recovered from them assorted items, including three portable DVD players, seven assorted bags, six pairs of sandals, 14 pieces of chocolate, six packs of toothbrushes, 18 pieces of large bottled shampoos, two containers of dietary supplement, one umbrella, two boxes feeding bottles, of Sketchers shoes, three pairs of socks, one box of 3D toy car, one box of cooking set, 46 pieces of porcelain plates, and 21 pieces of porcelain bowls.
De la Paz said the total worth of the stolen items amounted to P80,000. The police also recovered from them plane tickets, blue book and bank book.
“It showed that the said group has a leader and financier to penetrate in different malls in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao,” he stressed.
He said during the interrogation, the suspects admitted that they were here in Bacolod to perpetrate their illegal activity in different malls.
De la Paz added the modus operandi of the suspects is to buy small items and then take other items and place it inside their plastic bags.
He believes that the suspects are members of an organized crime group, which targets malls in the country.
The city director said the said group is well-financed, since they came to Bacolod last Saturday by plane and rented some pension houses here.
He said the targets of the suspects are places that have fiestas, as Bacolod has just celebrated the 74th Charter Anniversary last Monday.
De la Paz added they will conduct further investigation to determine the mastermind and local contacts of the suspects and they will coordinate with the National Bureau of Investigation to determine if the suspects have pending arrest warrants.
De la Paz also urged the management of different malls to file charges against the suspects and urged them not to settle with them in order to stop the suspects from victimizing other malls in the country.
Julius Rainer Estares, of the Customer Relation Service of SM Mall, positively identified some items which were stolen by the suspects.
Estares said they have already monitored the suspects for almost three days but they failed to arrest them. He said he will coordinate with the management of SM mall for the filing of charges against the suspects.
On the other hand, Rapiz said the suspects were monitored by BCPO since last year during the MassKara Festival celebration but they were not neutralized.
He said the suspects visit Bacolod every time there were big celebrations in order to perpetrate their illegal activities.
Fortunately last Monday evening, someone informed them that there were suspicious-looking personalities in their area carrying big plastic bags, he said.
Rapiz added during the verification, Derla tried to bribe them so that they will not be put in jail.
Derla, who stands as a leader of the group, said they were here in Bacolod to victimize malls. She admitted that, before coming to Bacolod, they had been operating for almost nine months in Manila.
She said they ship their stolen items to Manila and sell it there.
Derla added they only borrowed money for their fares to come here in Bacolod. She denied that they have a financier.
She claimed that they were here in Bacolod after they received information from some groups that it was nice to operate in different malls in Bacolod.
She also admitted that they have a local contact here whom she identified as a certain “Arlyn” of Sta.Cruz, Murcia. Arlyn was only introduced to her by her relative here in Bacolod, she added.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 20, 2012.