Losses of pawnshop owners to robbers have more than doubled in the first six months of this year compared to a similar period last year.
Approximately P6.5 million worth of cash and jewelry was lost to robbers from January to June this year as against P2.9 million worth of similar items taken by the thieves over the same period in 2010, according to the police.
The Calabarzon region—which is made up of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon provinces—tallied the most incidents of pawnshop robberies with seven reported incidents from January to June this year, compared to last year’s five incidents.
There was one reported robbery in Metro Manila, at a Tambunting Pawnshop in Barangay Pagasa in Quezon City, where some P5 million worth of jewelry was stolen on Feb. 27 by the burrowing robbers.
A similar robbery happened on April 20 at the NW Pawnshop in Pampanga province, where the robbers carted away cash and jewelry.
The next month, on May 24, a robbers’ gang looted the Dumaguete Pawnshop in Dumaguete City of several million pesos worth of jewelry.
On April 24, police thwarted an attempted robbery at the Palawan Pawnshop in Barangay San Isidro on Palawan island. Four suspected members of the “acetylene gang” were caught, two of them from Baguio City, another from Ilocos Sur and the fourth from Nueva Ecija province.
Recovered from them were digging equipment which the men allegedly used to burrow underneath the pawnshop and gain entry through the floor.
On Sept. 10 last year, an attempt to tunnel through a row of three pawnshops—the Amethyst Pawnshop, the AGL Pawnshop, and the Cebuana Lhuillier, along JP Rizal Street in Barangay Concepcion Uno in Marikina City—was thwarted.
The robbery was foiled when the owner of a nearby establishment heard sounds coming from beneath the ground and reported the incident.
The Marikina police said the members of the gang must have fled after they were alerted by their lookouts. Police later recovered digging gear inside a sewage system and saw freshly dug tunnels leading to the three pawnshops.
On Dec. 22 last year, the acetylene gang struck at the Unicorn Pawnshop at the corner of Edsa and P. Santos Street in Pasay City and made off with some P1.3 million worth of jewelry.
The Pasay police said the burglars entered a drainage box culvert at the Tripa de Gallina creek in Makati City before digging the tunnel to the pawnshop.