Freeman Region

Pawnshop HIT police arrest robber, recover P5M jewelry

Judy Flores Partlow, Juancho R. Gallarde and Raffy Cabristante - The Freeman

DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines  â€”A group of at least nine armed men yesterday morning barged into a pawnshop at the downtown area in this city and fled toward nearby Sibulan town with an estimated P5 million worth of assorted jewelry.

Quick response by the Dumaguete City Police, the Sibulan Police, the Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office (NOrPPO) and the SWAT, however, led to the arrest of one of the robbers and the recovery of the loot and the getaway vehicles that were abandoned in Sibulan.

The arrested suspect was identified as Jesuslou Elcarte Alegria, 42, a resident of Pagadian City in Zamboanga del Sur, who is now in custody of the Dumaguete Police, headed by Supt James Goforth

Alegria was arrested at an abandoned house in Brgy. Tubtubon of Sibulan, about 15 minutes-drive from the city, after residents spotted him there and called in the police, said NOrPPO acting director Supt. Alet Virtucio.

Alegria was positively identified by a 10-year-old girl who told pursuing operatives that she saw him bringing a big bayong into the house of a certain Eboy in Tubtubon.

Police recovered from Alegria various pieces of jewelry---which pawnshop owner, Jose Miranda, estimated to be valued at around P5 million--and the shotgun of the pawnshop security guard that the robbers also took with them in their escape. Inventory of the recovered items at the City Police Station was witnessed by Miranda himself and Mayor Manuel Sagarbarria.

In an interview with The Freeman,  Alegria said only seven of the group boarded early yesterday morning the Revo vehicle from Sibulan to Dumaguete to stage the robbery.

He admitted that he was a former inmate of the Marikina City Jail for illegal drugs case. He also said he was recruited to go with the group, but did not know their leader although he can identify two of the members who were his relatives, namely Nicasio Perad and Antonio Vargas.

The other robbers were still at large as law enforcers continued their hot pursuit operations as of press time, but the Sibulan Police, headed by Insp. Rodrigo Tubog, have recovered the black Revo (plate no. VHE 793) that was abandoned by the robbers.

Scene of the Crime Operatives recovered from the vehicle two M16 armalite rifles, three .45 caliber pistols, a .38 caliber revolver, several magazine clips and rounds of live ammunition, two red license plates (no. SKF 677), handheld radio, clothes and toiletress and a suitcase containing stuffed toys, backpacks and personal belongings.

Virtucio said that, based on the documents recovered by the police, the Revo was registered to a certain Amalia Atienza of Cavite province. Coordination with the Highway Patrol Group in Dumaguete also showed that the SUV was not in the list of carnapped vehicles.

Authorities further found two Honda XRM motorcycles, believed to be the getaway vehicles by the other robbers, abandoned at the parking lot of a restaurant at Brgy. Ajong in Sibulan. An employee of the restaurant told reporters that two men drove up to the place, took off their helmets, waited for about 15 minutes and then boarded a white van along the national highway.

The motorcycles' plate numbers (KL 5268 and KJ 2381) were traced to have come from Region 11 in Mindanao, said the police. Intelligence reports last week said some suspicious men from Mindanao arrived in Dumaguete and were spotted at a shopping mall in this city.

Juan Ortega, the guard of the pawnshop, narrated that one of the robbers aimed at him a gun while the others scooped up the assorted jewelry. The heist was completed in just a few minutes, he said, and the robbers fled on three motorcycles and a waiting Revo, few meters from the crime scene.

However, a policeman, who was in civilian clothes at the time, spotted them with long firearms and relayed the alarm to the station while tailing the suspects up to Sibulan where a checkpoint and a patrol car were set up. The Revo quickly made a u-turn as it neared the station, and witnesses said at least three men alighted from the vehicle and fled on foot. They then boarded a multicab, but disembarked to take a motorcycle for Tubtubon.

Goforth said the police bust was "a big loss for the robbers. Not only did they fail to steal the jewelry, but they also lost their getaway vehicles."

Sagarbarria, for his part, said he was glad of the quick resolution of the police and the community in tracking down the robbers. "I'm happy that one of the suspects was arrested, and as far as the pawnshop is concerned, they were able to recover what was lost from them," he told The Freeman.

"We are also thankful that the pawnshop had CCTV systems, so we were able to see what exactly happened," he added. (FREEMAN)












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