Acetylene gang leader named

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Thursday, January 23, 2014


THE leader of the notorious acetylene gang ransacking pawnshops and banks in the Metro Manila and Luzon provinces was recently collared by the police.

Cordillera Police regional director Chief Superintendent Isagani Nerez presented Tuesday the alleged leader of the acetylene gang identified as Julio Bedking, of Bengao Road, Bakakeng Central, Baguio City.

Bedking who uses the aliases of James Bastin and Bill Gonzales was arrested by a composite team from the Regional Intelligence Division of the Cordillera Police Regional Office; Baguio City Police Office; CIDG PRO-Cordillera; San Fernando City, Pampanga Police Office; Southern Police District CIDG; Quezon City NCR CIDG; Quezon City Police District; and elements of the Anti-Kidnapping Group, after he posted bail.

Bedking was jailed at the San Fernando City Jail after he was arrested with two other gang members for attempted robbery of a pawnshop on the early morning of January 1. His most recent arrest was by virtue of a warrant issued by the Regional Trial Court in Caloocan City.

The real identity of Bedking, long subject of police manhunt for his involvement in many pawnshop heists in many parts of the country, was revealed when PRO-Cordillera operatives received information he has been using different aliases during his 14 years as a member and leader of the notorious criminal organization, the acetylene gang.

Police were able to ascertain his identity only after validating his photos with his associates. But the big break came when police arrested another alleged member of the group identified as Teddy Castro, who was nabbed by police at the Resorts World and Casino in Pasay City Sunday.

It was Castro who told police that Bedking, the alleged leader of the group was in the San Fernando City Jail in Pampanga for attempted robbery on New Year’s Day.

Nerez said the arrest of Julio Bedking and Teddy Castro was the result of cooperation by all concerned police units and agencies and a product of weeks of investigation and intelligence gathering.

But he stressed the arrest of the suspect is not a guarantee the notorious gang leader will no longer get out of jail explaining robbery is a bailable crime.

The police chief said a revision of existing criminal laws and further investigation and filing of additional cases against the suspect is important to ensure the suspect stays in jail.

He recommended for an investigation to be conducted by the Anti-Money Laundering Council questioning the lifestyle of the alleged notorious gang leader.

The police chief said the arrest of the leader of the acetylene gang led to the recent arrest of eight alleged acetylene gang members at the vicinity of Ochoa Pawnshop along Villiongco Street in Barangay Commonwealth, Quezon City.

Arrested in the police operation Monday in Quezon City were Cecille Ibanez of Lumbangan, Negros Oriental; Ortiz Latungan of La Trinidad, Benguet; Eric Sectang of La Trinidad, Benguet; Arthur Bino of Buguias, Benguet; Clarence Dayao, of La Trinidad, Benguet; Tarex Tayaban of Itogon, Benguet; Ruben Sebnangen and Elmo Bustarde of Tadian, Mt. Province.

The police chief added the gang leader’s henchmen may also be responsible to the robbery of Stargold pawnshop at Mabini corner Carantes Streets during the holidays as he explained the gang uses the Cordillera region as training ground for various robberies they undertake in cities around the country.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 24, 2014.

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