5 robberies so far in August

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Thursday, August 21, 2014


A GASOLINE station lost about P20,000 to four robbery suspects last Tuesday afternoon in Balamban, Cebu.

The FB Gasoline Station was the fifth establishment robbed so far this month in Cebu City and Cebu Province.

Police arrested one of the suspects less than two hours later at a checkpoint in Cebu City. Some of the suspects in the four other heists have also been identified, but remain at large.

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Most robbers these days do not cover their faces anymore and commonly use motorcycles, said Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB) Chief Rodulfo Albotra.

One thing that’s helping the police is the robbers’ tendency to study their targets for a few days before the heist, which improves the law enforcers’ chances of identifying them.

“Sa sige na nila balik-balik ana nga area, mailhan na man sila sa mga tawo (People recognize them after they keep returning to the area). So we can easily ask for a description,” explained Albotra in a phone interview.

The biggest loss was that of the Palawan Pawnshop in Barangay Buanoy, Balamban, which five robbers struck last Aug. 3. They ran off with P298,000 cash, but one of the suspects was arrested two days later.

2 pharmacies in 1 day

Last Aug. 14, the LBC Escario Branch in Cebu City also lost P20,000 to two robbers, who were later identified as Leonardo Rama and Wendel Mendoza. But the two are still at large.

In barely two hours last Monday, two pharmacies in Consolacion town and Bulacao in Cebu City were also held up.

About 12 noon, the Three-Sixty Pharmacy was held up and lost almost P20,000. Rama and Mendoza were also tagged for the said robbery.

Two hours later, the Rose Pharmacy in Consolacion lost about P80,000 to three men, but one of the suspects was arrested that same day.

In last Tuesday’s robbery, employees of the FB Gasoline Station in Sitio Lacdon, Barangay Aliwanay, Balamban were forced to give some P20,000 cash to four armed men around 5 p.m.

The robbers escaped on two motorcycles.

But less than two hours later, the Mabolo Police Station arrested one armed person, believed to be one of the suspects, in a checkpoint on Veterans’ Drive in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City.

Virgilio Navales, 25, a resident of Barangay Singsing in Balamban, was caught at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday after the police found a .38 pistol and three small sachets of shabu in his possession.

The gasoline station’s employees later identified him as the one who pointed a gun at cashier Dinesber Borja. Borja and gasoline boy Santiago Rabanes went to the Mabolo Police Station and identified Navales.

4 minutes

Mabolo Police Chief Hartzel Bellido, however, said they will still coordinate with the Balamban Police Station.

“We will still have to check further,” said Bellido.

SPO1 Jose Villarino, Balamban police investigator, said that during the incident, the four robbers posed as customers.

When Rabanes, the gasoline, approached them, the robbers pointed a gun at the employees.

The robbery only took about four minutes.

One of the men took the money from the cash register, then the group escaped.

Employees of the gasoline station then called for police assistance.

Villarino said there were no security cameras or guards in the gasoline station, and that the man they caught at a checkpoint denied any involvement.

“Nideny siya (Navales) nga apil siya sa tulis. Wala kuno siya’y kalibutan ana (Navales said he had nothing to do with the robbery. He said he knew nothing about it),” said Villarino.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 21, 2014.

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