CAPITOL officials urged the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) to watch out for a “big-time” robbery group that allegedly intends to visit Cebu during the Sinulog festivities.

“(They) are expected to pull a heist among establishments here over the holidays and during the Sinulog festivities,” said Cebu Provincial Board (PB) Member Juan Bolo, sponsor of the approved resolution.

He cited intelligence reports that said the group has five men and has reportedly staged a robbery in Cebu before.

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“It is very important to monitor this group closely and enhance police visibility to assure any possible robbery will be preempted,” said the one-page resolution approved in last Monday’s session.

Days after that call, a theft suspect, believed to be part of a group from Mindanao who came to Cebu for the Sinulog crowds, was arrested after allegedly stealing from an American national last Friday night.

Waiting for a ride

Cornered and arrested by a policeman and a group of bystanders was Richard Mañala, 40, who is from Isabela, Basilan.

Mañala’s three alleged accomplices, though, escaped during the chase along N. Bacalso Ave., Cebu City past 6 p.m. Friday.

American national Ronald Theril Woods, 66, was standing with his family near a mall on N. Bacalso Ave. when four men, including Mañala, allegedly bumped him.

Woods is originally from Texas, USA, but is temporarily residing in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City. His family was waiting for a taxi when the incident happened.

While the group bumped him, one of the suspects allegedly took his black wallet, with at least P30,000 cash inside, from the right front pocket of Woods’ pants.

Woods shouted for help after realizing his loss, and bystanders chased the suspects and cornered Mañala.

P03 Filomeno D. Viquezo Jr. of the Cebu City Police Traffic Group, who was manning the traffic, handcuffed Mañala and brought him to the Theft and Robbery Section.

One of the suspects who escaped, however, allegedly took the loot with him.

Theft and Robbery Section (TRS) Chief Michael Anthony Bastes sent a team to a pension house, where Mañala’s group stayed, but the three other suspects had already left.

Meanwhile, two suspected jeepney robbers were arrested by a team of Criminal Investigation Branch operatives at a roadside checkpoint on Echavez St. past 11 p.m. Friday.

Dennis M. Tibon, 22, of Pagsabungan, Mandaue City and Ernesto C. Arresga, 30, of Martires St., Cebu City were caught after a brief chase.

Allegedly found in Tibon’s possession was a .38 caliber revolver loaded with five bullets, while Arresga yielded a knife.

PO2 Marlon Perolina said he saw the two as they “hurriedly” disembarked from the jeepney a few meters away from the checkpoint.