Pawnshop thieves rented next roomBy Nathaniel R. Melican
Philippine Daily Inquirer
They posed as businessmen setting up an ukay-ukay store and pretended to build a cabinet and a table for the shop. They were that “organized.”
Police are hunting down four men who allegedly robbed a pawnshop in Valenzuela City by boring a hole in the wall and crawling in from a neighboring commercial unit they started renting a week earlier.
The manager of Cebuana Lhuiller Pawnshop near the corner of MacArthur Highway and G. Lazaro Road in Barangay (village) Dalandanan discovered the theft as the shop was about to open for business early Wednesday morning, according to the city police chief, Senior Supt. Rhoderick Armamento.
Armamento said the burglary appeared to be well planned, as the suspects first rented a commercial space right behind the pawnshop and from there chiseled their way through the concrete wall.
“The thieves posed as businessmen and rented the space at the back of the pawnshop, saying they would set up an ukay-ukay (used clothes) shop. They even built a cabinet and a table which they would supposedly use,” Armamento said in a phone interview.
He said the four suspects started renting the place Monday last week and even gave the owner P24,000 for a one-month deposit and advanced payment for two months.
After receiving the money, the owner did not bother checking the suspects’ IDs or background, the officer noted.
Investigators said the thieves broke into the pawnshop sometime between 1:30 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
“They chiseled away at the wall (during their stay at the other unit),” he said. “To mask the noise they made, the suspects also pretended to build a cabinet and a table.”
After boring a hole, the thieves used a bolt cutter and an acetylene torch to forcibly open the pawnshop’s vault containing jewelry. The bolt cutter was later recovered at the scene, along with a face mask and an empty sack. The pawnshop’s office was also left in disarray.
“The pawnshop is still doing an inventory, so the value of the stolen pieces of jewelry is yet to be determined. However, the suspects weren’t able to take everything from the vault,” Armamento said.
At the unit rented by the suspects, investigators found balut eggshells, a one-liter soft drink bottle and bits of food bought from a nearby convenience store.
“This crime was so well organized that anyone from the outside would never have thought there was something fishy going on. The suspects considered everything to hide what they were doing, to the point of cleaning up the bits of concrete they chiseled off and collecting them in sacks inside the property they rented,” Armamento said.