CEBU

Briones: Mall heist update

On the go

I’m still trying to get my head around it.

Fifteen armed men with long firearms and hammers barged inside J Centre Mall in Barangay Bakilid, Mandaue City on Saturday night, Oct. 19, 2019, and robbed three jewelry stores, a money changer and a pawnshop.

I really thought it was the plot of the latest offering on Netflix, not something that would happen right in our very own backyard. But it did.

And get this, barely four hours after the heist, police arrested four suspects, although they refused to divulge where the arrest was made.

Of course, a netizen reported to SunStar Cebu that armed men were arrested aboard a vessel bound for Masbate from the Polambato Wharf in Bogo City, Cebu around the same time.

It doesn’t take a genius to put two and two together.

Then the next day, Sunday, Oct. 20, it was reported that four of the suspects were killed and another one was injured in separate operations.

Police also trimmed down the number of men involved in the heist to nine. Or maybe I’m just confused.

Either way, the deceased were identified as Kevin Plaza Andales, Wilfredo Suerte Enguito, Philip Faburada, Glen Gilberto Tairos.

According to Police Major Emily Santos of the Bogo Police Station, they intercepted seven men believed to be members of the Ozamiz Robbery Group at the Polambato Wharf around 11 p.m. on Saturday night.

She said Police Staff Sgt. Jojit Potot, who was stationed at the wharf, noticed four men inside a beige Toyoto Innova that was similar to the vehicle caught on the Mandaue mall’s security camera.

When police checked the passengers’ IDs and learned that most of them were from Ozamiz, the men were taken into custody. The suspects then told police about their three other companions inside a roll-on, roll-off vessel.

On the way to the Bogo Police Station, Andales, Enguito and Faburada allegedly tried to grab the gun of their captors and were killed as a result.

As for Tairos, he allegedly panicked when he saw James Anthony Gomez with a police escort arrive at the scene. You see, Gomez was stopped at a police checkpoint in Sogod around 1 a.m. on Sunday with an expired driver’s license that stated he was from Ozamiz City. He told police he needed to pick Tairos at the wharf so they accompanied him.

So when Tairos saw Gomez with the police, he allegedly tried to shoot them. The police immediately wrestled him for the gun and he ended up getting shot.

Another suspect, Arnel Cimafranca, was also injured. It appears he was the fourth man in the Innova. Or maybe not.

At any rate, I’m still scratching my head.


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