14 stolen cars seized in Davao raid
DAVAO CITY—Police on Monday seized 14 vehicles during a raid on a warehouse here believed owned by the alleged head of a car theft syndicate operating in Mindanao and which has links with a syndicate in Luzon.
The raid, conducted on a warehouse owned by Ryan Yu in Agdao District, was backed by a search warrant.
Senior Supt. Ronald dela Rosa, Davao City police chief, said the raid on Yu’s warehouse in Sarphil Subdivision, Barangay Wilfredo Aquino, followed the arrest in Tandag, Surigao del Sur, last Oct. 17 of several men involved in car thefts.
Among the vehicles seized during the Monday raid was a Toyota Innova belonging to agro-industrial firm Sumifro in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur.
Other vehicles seized during the raid were a Toyota Hi-Ace Grandia, a Honda Fit, a Kia Carens, a Ford Ranger, a Mitsubishi Montero, a Honda Jazz, an Isuzu D-Max, two Toyota Hi-Lux and a Mitsubishi Lancer.
Dela Rosa identified those arrested as Hermie Salabe Tahom, 36, from San Agustin, Tandag, Surigao del Sur; Gerry Malakaw Paulino, 30, from Buhangin, Davao City; Diego Lingasa, 19, of Sigaboy, Governor Generoso, Davao Oriental; and Eddie Tabanao Lopez, 19, of Balite, Marilog, Davao City.
The arrested suspects acted either as transporters of stolen vehicles or technicians specializing in disconnecting car alarms. The stolen vehicles were recovered from them, said Dela Rosa.
Yu, also known by his alias Baktin, and two of his men—a certain Mark Lester Reyes and Jovel Tan—remain at large.
Director General Nicanor Bartolome, PNP chief, said in an e-mail statement that Yu’s gang has links with the Dominguez Group, a notorious car theft gang operating in Luzon and whose leaders are currently in jail.
The Highway Patrol Group (HPG) named the gang being operated by Yu after his alias, Baktin. The gang, according to the HPG, was responsibe for at least 21 cases of car theft in this city and Tagum City since November last year.
In an earlier interview, Dela Rosa said the group has alleged connections with an employee of a car dealer but the police chief refused to identify the gang’s contact, allegedly from a firm supplying Toyota cars.
He said the unidentified Toyota car dealer employee would provide Yu’s group with keys of purchased cars, details of the purchases that include specifications of the car and the address of the buyer to help the gang easily locate the target vehicle.
Two of those arrested on Oct. 17, according to Dela Rosa, served as transporters of Yu—Tahom and Paulino. Two others arrested—Lingasa and Lopez—are experts in disconnecting car alarms.
Dela Rosa said a stolen car would be taken to Tandag City at Yu’s Universal Star Marketing, where the stolen vehicle would be given a new look.
Senior Supt. Gregorio Pimentel, HPG head in Southern Mindanao, said Yu has established connections and has specialized in tampering with vehicle chassis and other processes in car theft operations.
According to Pimentel, Yu also knows how to get stolen cars registered at the Land Transportation Office through lawyers who are experts in having stolen vehicles registered.
Yu, whose other alias is Ryan Young, has been charged with car theft, fencing and fraud in November last year.
Charged with Yu were Osmond Ray Dalugdog (alias Cocoy Dee), Hashim Dee Balabaran and Mark Lester Reyes. Ayan C. Mellejor, Inquirer Mindanao, with Marlon Ramos in Manila