Locator app helps cops in arresting 5 robbers

AN iPAD equipped with a location finder or global positioning system was great help for policemen in tracking down five suspected criminals responsible for the August 23 robbery hold-up of a grocery store in Barangay Tabun, Angeles City over the weekend.

Police Colonel Joyce Patrick Sangalang, director of the Angeles City Police Office (Acpo), said the locator application made it "easy" in tracking down the suspects, that within three hours after the crime was committed, they were all arrested.

"It was a photo finish crime bust," said Sangalang, as he urged owners of iPads and iPhones or any other gadgets to install locator apps or GPS location finder for security purposes.

Sangalang identified the suspects as Henry Calatayud, 41; Edmark Marcelino, 32; and Carl Jose Esguerra, 21, all of Resettlement Center, Barangay Sapa Libutad, Angeles City; Reslie Vitales, 20, of Barangay Cutcut, Angeles City; and Jerich Aquino, 20, of Baranga Pandan, Angeles City.

Two other suspects identified as Christian Dantes alias Jan-Jan and Joey Liad eluded arrest under cover of darkness.

The suspects, Sangalang said, did not know that one of the gadgets they took shortly after the heist at Auntie Anne's Supermarket is equipped with a location finder. Some P170,000 cash stashed at the cashiers vault was also taken at gunpoint past 7 p.m.

Policemen quickly raided the suspects' safehouse situated along Ubas Street, Barangay Dau, Mabalacat City. They were all surprised with the lawmen's presence inside the compound, telling them to surrender, said Sangalang.

The suspects, according to police records showed to reporters, are responsible for the series of robbery hold-ups in Pampanga and nearby areas in Central Luzon, victimizing salesmen and distributors of cigarettes and other goods.

Three of the suspects barged inside the store, while the two served as look outs and at gunpoint announced a hold-up, the police report noted.

Sangalang said the suspects also took an iPad, three units of iPhones and other valuables, including credit cards and ATM cards. One of the suspects fired his handgun in the air before they fled on board two Nmax motorcycles heading eastward in this city.

Sangalang said the commotion and the faces of the suspects were captured on security cameras of the store.

"Security cameras installed along the escape route of the suspects also gave our lawmen a breakthrough," said Sangalang.

Seized from the suspects were two caliber .45 pistols and a 9mm caliber Glock 17 pistol, which was later found out as a PNP service firearm issued to a policeman in Quirino province.

Policemen recovered the stolen items including different ATM cards, credit cards and P70,000 cash. Four motorcycles of different models and two improvised license plates believed used as getaway by the suspects were also found at the rented apartment.

The suspects are detained at the Police Station 3 as charges of illegal possession of firearms, robbery with violence and intimidation were filed in court against them.


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