THE Department of Justice (DOJ) presented three foreigners nabbed for carting thousands of pesos, sometimes dollars, from unsuspecting money changing shops in Iloilo City.

With just a flick of their hands and a flurry of distracting tactics, the trio's nefarious activities finally ended when a cashier in a supermarket in Santa Barbara, Iloilo complained of their modus operandi.

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The suspects were identified as Pakistani nationals Imram Hussain and Yawar Tahir, and Iranian Roshandal Hussein.

The three were presented at the DOJ to encourage other victims to come out and file criminal charges before deportation proceedings could be initiated against them.

Another suspect, a woman of still unknown nationality who served as lookout during their operations, is still at large.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said charges of violation of Article 308 of the Revised Penal Code were filed against the suspects before the Iloilo Provincial Prosecutor’s Office.

Although the suspects were able to post bail for their temporary liberty, prosecutors were able to secure a hold departure order against them.

Prior to their arrest, the suspects were caught in a CCTV camera at the A & B Money Changer shop in Nueva Ecija in May deftly drawing about a thousand dollars’ worth of cash by inserting his hand in the cash slot while the cashier was being distracted by an accomplice.

They however eluded arrest.

Last July 3, the suspects conspired to rob a cashier in Iloilo employing the same tactics. One of the suspects allegedly stole the money at the cash register while the others engaged the bagger and a customer in a conversation to distract their attention.

The cashier later testified that she smelled something unusual which caused her to momentarily lose her senses, and after the suspects left, she learned that the money in the register was gone, prompting her to alert the supermarket security officers.

Upon their arrest, the suspects yielded P61,000 cash. Follow up investigations further showed that the suspects were the same group that victimized an M. Lhuiller pawnshop, also in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo.

De Lima said the syndicate appeared to be in cahoots with a certain police superintendent in Iloilo, who was said to have worked for the release of the suspects upon their arrest.

The police official was now temporarily relieved from his post. (JCV/Sunnex)