THREE people tagged as members of “salisi gang” were arrested after they allegedly duped a dried fish stall seller at the Taboan Public Market in Cebu City on Saturday evening, June 25, 2022.

Personnel from the Cebu City Police Station 6 in Barangay Sawang Calero arrested Mark Anthony Rosales, 31; Macmac Mendoza, 32; and Rovilyn Rosales, 40, residents of Tondo, Manila, during a follow-up operation.

The three were positively identified through a close-circuit television (CCTV) camera installed at the stall of Maria Luz Matara, 45, a dried fish vendor at the Taboan Public Market.

Matara told police that she was selling at her stall at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday when the three suspects approached her stall.

According to Executive Msgt. Francisco Parilla Jr., the three were trying to distract Matara by showing interest in purchasing her products.

While Matara was distracted, one of the suspects entered the stall and stole the victim’s bag.

Parilla, an investigator for the Sawang Calero Police Station, said around P348,000 of Matara’s personal money were stolen by the suspects.

Parilla said they were able to locate one of the suspects after a bystander reported to them.

The three suspects were eventually arrested in a follow-up operation conducted by personnel from the Sawang Calero Police Station led by Maj. Eraño Regidor on the same day.

But the money they had stolen from Matara was no longer recovered.

Other victims

Aside from Matara, the three suspects, along with two other still unidentified cohorts, also victimized Myrna Binondo, the village chief of Mayana, Barili, on Friday, June 24.

Binondo was reportedly manning her fruit stall when five unidentified people suddenly approached her to ask her about the prices of the fruits that she was selling.

As Binondo was busy talking to the group, she didn’t realize that one of them had snuck inside her store and taken her sling bag that was hanging from a post behind her.

It was only after the group had left her store when she noticed that her bag was already missing.

Binondo told police that her bag contained P130,000 in cash, her IDs, assorted jewelry and at least 60 Dasig Sugbo cards that she was supposed to give to her constituents.

Aside from Binondo and Matara, the group reportedly victimized a store owner in Barangay Tisa, Cebu City, carting about half a million pesos of the store’s earnings through the same modus operandi.

‘Organized’ criminals

Lt. Col. Wilbert Parilla, deputy director for administration of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), told reporters that the suspects belong to an organized crime group.

Due to the success of their modus operandi, they reportedly hired a lawyer to defend them whenever they got arrested, the CCPO official said.

Aside from the three suspects, the CCPO has also secured the identities of the two other “salisi gang” members. (AYB, BBT with CNU Interns Irish Delima & Ryan Megabon / TPT)