The presence of police marshals and a college student’s quick thinking led to the arrest of four suspected pickpockets on a bus plying Edsa in Quezon City before dawn Friday.
Alerted by the victim’s cry for help, four plainclothesmen from the Quezon City Police District blocked the suspects’ path before they could jump off the bus, according to the QCPD.
Arrested were Joseph Matira, 39; Ronald Sazan, 39, and his brother Jerome, 25, and Joel Tanyes, 28, who boarded a Fairview-bound Elena Transit bus around 4 a.m. in Barangay (village) Socorro.
Superintendent Ronnie Montejo, commander of QCPD’s Cubao station, said they targeted one of the passengers, Marcelo Garol, a 21-year-old student, first by “distracting” him. Matira, Tanyes and Jerome Sazan surrounded and repeatedly ‘’bumped” Garol as the elder Ronald Sazan tried to unzip the victim’s backpack.
“The bus about to stop in front of Farmers Plaza (in Cubao) when the suspects pounced on the victim,” Montejo said.
1 of 14 pickpocket groups
They had taken hold of Garol’s cell phone and were heading toward the door when the marshals led by Senior Insp. Jeff Dalson rose from their seats and blocked their path.
According to QCPD director Senior Supt. Richard Albano, the gang was one of the “14 groups of pickpockets” operating in Quezon City.
“They go for passengers who appear to be absentminded while on the road,” Albano said. “Passengers should be alert. If they notice that somebody is repeatedly bumping them, that means something is happening.”
The suspects used a password to signal that their loot had been secured and that they can let go of the victim, he added.
The QCPD on Wednesday announced that it had started deploying marshals on public utility vehicles to step up its campaign against street crimes.