Police: Same suspect may be involved in 2 town hall robberies

BACOLOR -- Mayor Jose Maria Hizon said Monday that the suspect in the robbery and break-in at the municipal treasurer's office here is also a suspect in similar incident in a municipality in La Union.

Hizon said that investigation made by the local police showed that the lone suspect also divested the treasurer’s office of a town hall in La Union, which he did not identify, a few weeks ago. He added that the mayor of the said town did not report the incident to authorities.

"Pareho ang modus operandi ng suspect na ito. Ang mga munisipyo ang target niya at alam niya kung ano ang mga munisipyo na may pera. Pagkatapos niya doon sa La Union ay dito naman sa Pampanga siya tumira, at sa aking hinala ay mag-iibang bayan o probisya na siya niyan," Hizon said.

The mayor added that based on the investigation, the suspect has been seen in the vicinity of the town hall a few days before the robbery occurred.

Hizon also directed town chief of police Sr. Inspector Romeo Balubal to follow-up leads in identifying and arresting the suspect, saying that the police chief was given 30 days to solve the case.

"Sabi ko kay hepe dapat within 30 days ay ma solve na niya ang krimen, kung hindi baka ma-relieve siya ng provincial director, and sabi naman niya ay bigyan siya ng chance para masolve niya ang kasong ito," Hizon said.

Balubal, for his part, said that they are "hot on the trail" of the suspects and that they are now following up leads that may lead to the early resolution of the case.

"Ayaw ko munang isa publiko ang mga developments na ito dahil on-going pa ang case baka ma jeopardize and investigation at follow up operations naming. Rest assured na ginagawa namain lahat ng aming makakaya upang mahuli ang mga salarin,” he said.

He added that even if they are under investigation or maybe charged with administrative sanctions, this will not affect the performance of their duties as they are focus now in arresting the culprit.

Earlier, Hizon put-up a P100,000 cash reward to anyone who can give information that will lead to the identification and arrest of the suspect in the break-in and robbery at the municipal town hall recently.

The CCTV camera installed by Hizon was able to capture a photo of the suspect who entered the Treasurer’s Office and carted away P500,000 cash and other valuables.

Pampanga Provincial Police Chief Rodolfo Recomono, Jr. said he ordered operatives to reproduce the suspect's picture and distribute it to different police stations in the province for identification and possible arrest. The suspect in the photo appeared to be chubby and was sporting a backpack, he said.

Recomono also said the investigation involving some personnel of the Bacolor police station, including Balubal, is in progress.

The suspect gained access by destroying the door leading to the Mayor's Office before going upstairs where the treasurer's office is situated.

The police station is located right within the municipal hall building, a floor above the treasurer’s office.

The money, a portion of which was quarry permit collections and part of it sports development funds, was stashed in the safety vault which the suspect stripped off using carpentry and mechanical tools. (Chris Navarro)

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