Their big mistake: Striking in a neighborhood where undercover cops were having lunch.
Three robbers were killed by the police and a fourth got away with a P60,000 loot from a hardware store in North Fairview, Quezon City, on Wednesday.
The slain trio remained unidentified at press time after they reportedly shot it out with pursuing members of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD), which started deploying plainclothesmen on public utility vehicles earlier this month.
The armed robbers pretended to be customers when they entered Cemento Pilipinas store on Commonwealth Avenue Extension around noon. Antonio Lepon said the robbers held him and coworker Joan de Vera at gunpoint as they emptied the cash drawer and demanded their wallets and cell phones.
“It was over in less than five minutes. Luckily, there were policemen having lunch from across the store and there were others at another karinderia about two houses away from us,” Lepon said.
QCPD director Senior Supt. Richard Albano said the marshals were immediately alerted to the robbery and spotted the suspects fleeing on foot.
The officers shouted orders for the suspects to stop but the latter fired at them, triggering a shootout. One of the suspects was killed at the center island on Commonwealth, while another was hit as he ran toward Mindanao Avenue. The third was carrying a bag containing some of the stolen cash when killed on a vacant lot near the store.
A fourth suspect escaped on a taxi, apparently the same vehicle the robbers used to get to the store. Albano said this suspect got away with around P60,000.
The responding QCPD marshals belonged to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (CIDU) and the District Intelligence and Investigation Division, the director said.
The slain suspects were described to be between 25 and 35 years old, two of them carrying .38 caliber revolvers, he added.