latest Post

Mall of Asia robbers could have been copycats – NCRPO chief

1 arrested as cops foil MOA jewelry store robbery. Policemen and security guards move to the scene of a robbery on a jewelry store inside the Mall of Asia in Pasay City on Sunday, March 30. One suspected robber was arrested while six other suspects escape during the operation that caused hundreds of shoppers to rush out of the mall. AFP/Noel Celis

The Philippine National Police is looking into the possibility that robbers who smashed open jewelry display cases at the SM Mall of Asia last Sunday may have been copycats.

"Currently, our investigation is ongoing. We cannot identify yet if these [robbers] were members of Martilyo Gang or just copycats," Police Senior Superintendent Carmelo Valmoria, National Capital Region Police Office director, told GMA News Online in a phone interview on Monday.

The so-called Martilyo Gang earned the moniker for using hammers to smash open jewelry display cases when robbing mall department stores. The group has repeatedly hit jewelry sellers in SM malls.

The Mall of Asia robbers used pipe wrenches instead of hammers to open two display cases on Sunday night. 

Eight suspected members of the gang robbed two jewelry stalls near the entrance at the mall's south wing on Sunday night, the NCRPO chief said. 

Valmoria said it took the robbers about 20 seconds to open the display cases and grab jewelry. They also fired guns to cause a commotion among shoppers at the mall.

"Hindi naman nila nakuha ang lahat ng jewelry na nasa glass cabinet kasi nagmamadali na sila at nagtakbuhan na sila nang biglang may magpaputok sa kanila sa labas," Valmoria said.

The jewelry stalls have yet to inform the PNP how much the robbers managed to steal.

Suspect arrested 

The two police officers assigned to the mall, and who responded to the incident will be commended, the NCRPO chief said. He refused to name the police officers, however, for security reasons. 

Meanwhile, Valmoria confirmed that a suspect, identified as Bryan Bansawan and also known as Mahdi Abedin, is currently detained at the Pasay City Police Station. 

Police seized spare clothes and a .45 caliber handgun from the suspect, Valmoria said in a separate interview on GMA News Tv's "News To Go" on Monday.

"Part na rin ng modus nila na pagkatapos gumawa ng krimen, magpapalit sila ng damit [para humalo sa ibang tao]," he noted. 

He added the robbers were wearing caps when they entered the mall.

Unlike in previous incidents where the robbers purchased their tools inside the mall, the robbers in MOA had the pipe wrenches with them when they went in through the exit door, Valmoria said.

This is the fourth time that alleged Martilyo Gang members have robbed a jewelry store at an SM mall.

The group first attacked at SM Bicutan in November 2010. The group smashed open display cases, took the jewelry and threw a hand grenade as they left. 

They attacked anew three years later, using crowbars and hammers at the department store of SM Megamall.

Last December, the group struck again, hitting another jewelry counter at SM North Edsa. -- GMA News

About Erick Abel

Erick Abel
Recommended Posts × +
} //]]>