By ALEXANDRIA SAN JUAN
Five members of a robbery gang tagged in a series of hold-up incidents in Metro Manila were arrested by police, two hours after they robbed a carwash shop in Quezon City Wednesday night.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Guillermo Eleazar and Quezon City Police District director Chief Superintendent Joselito Esquivel Jr. identified the apprehended suspects as Jeffrey Flores, 34; Ting Jocson, 22; Danu San Diego, 20; James Vecina, 22; and Mark Labarinto, all residents of Manila.
Five victims told police that they were robbed by at least seven men while inside a carwash shop at the corner of N. Roxas and Banawe Street in Barangay Lourdes, Quezon City, past 7 p.m.
One of the customers in the shop, SPO3 Rommel Cordez, a member of QCPD Crime Laboratory Unit, tried to chase the fleeing suspects but they fired shots at him.
The victims sought help from the QCPD Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit after one of them detected through a locator application that his stolen high-end mobile phone was near SM San Lazaro in Manila.
CIDU operatives under Senior Inspector Elmer Monsalve immediately conducted an operation along with members of QCPD La Loma Police Station and NCRPO Special Operations Unit.
The victim, who accompanied the cops, positively identified the suspects who were seen casually standing beside Convergys Building on MGC Drive in Tayuman, Manila.
Five of the suspects were arrested while two others managed to escape.
The arrested suspects admitted their crimes.
In a follow-up operation, police recovered from the group’s safehouse on M. Hizon Street in Manila three motorcycles, two of which bear plate numbers 6798-PS and NA-19557; four motorcycle helmets, a black bonnet, and several personal belongings of other victims.
CIDU-Theft and Robbery Section head Senior Inspector Alan Dela Cruz said that the group’s main target that night was the restaurant adjacent to the carwash shop.
Dela Cruz said that the presence of SPO3 Cordez prompted the suspects to flee.
Seized from the group were a Louis Vuitton bag containing assorted cell phones, a hand grenade, two .45-caliber pistols, and two .38-caliber revolvers.
According to the suspects, the firearms they used were rented out to one of their cohorts they identified as certain “Junjun” who managed to escape.
The NCRPO Chief said that further investigation also showed that the group was also responsible for the robbery incident at a Japanese restaurant on Tomas Morato in Quezon City last June 1.
Eleazar added that further investigation is ongoing as they are looking into possibility that the same group were also behind the robbery incidents in Caloocan City and other areas in Metro Manila.
The suspects will be charged with robbery holdup, illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and explosive.