They renamed the dog “Lucky,” keeping him as a souvenir from a P1.4-million robbery they allegedly pulled off in April.
Three months later, however, looks like the same dog is about to change their luck.
The Shih Tzu—whose real name is “Polly,” according to his owners—is now being considered a key piece of evidence to be used against four men and a woman who were arrested over the weekend for ransacking the house of a Bureau of Customs official and later robbing a member of his staff on the road.
The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) on Tuesday said it had busted the group that victimized BOC lawyer Julito Doria on April 16 and his aide Dennis de Mesa on Friday.
QCPD theft and robbery section chief Insp. Alan de la Cruz said “the dog was really important to the family. It recognized its master and was really happy to see the Dorias.”
After the robbery, the suspects renamed it Lucky apparently because “they thought they were lucky to have pulled off the heist. But now they are arrested, with the dog as telltale evidence (of the crime),” the officer added.
QCPD director Chief Supt. Richard Albano said the five suspects—brothers John Mark and Jomel Tamalla, Ephraim John Evangelista alias “Paeng,” Raul Hunat alias “Tatang,” and Jackylene Cleto—were captured in separate operations in Pandacan, Manila, and in Quezon City.
They were being linked to the April 16 robbery in which Doria and his nephew were held at gunpoint in the lawyer’s Toyota Innova by a group of armed men they encountered as they were driving in New Manila. The men took over the vehicle and used it to go to Doria’s home in Batasan Hills, which they then ransacked.
The robbers took cash and valuables worth P1.4 million—and even grabbed Polly. They then forced Doria and his nephew back into the Innova, used it to get out of the neighborhood, and abandoned them and the vehicle in the Galas area.
The case had gone cold for over three months until De Mesa reported to the QCPD that he was robbed Friday night by two men and a woman on Katipunan Avenue.
In his complaint, De Mesa said he was driving his Innova (not the same vehicle from the first robbery) when he saw a female motorist on the side of the road who appeared to be having engine problems with her blue Honda Jazz car.
As he got off the vehicle to help the woman, two men approached, held him at gunpoint and took his clutch bag containing P10,000. The robbers then fled in the Jazz together with the woman.
According to De la Cruz, De Mesa was able to identify Evangelista and Hunat when shown photos of known crime suspects.
Before dawn on Saturday, members of the QCPD’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit tried to flag down a grey Honda Jazz without license plates. A short chase ensued when the car did not stop.
The car, it turned out, was carrying the Tamalla brothers, according to CIDU head Chief Insp. Rodelio Marcelo.
During interrogation, Marcelo said the two brothers admitted participation in the Doria household robbery and pointed to Evangelista, Hunat and Cleto as among their cohorts.
The Tamalla brothers also pointed police to their “safehouse” in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, where De la Cruz said they found the Shih Tzu dog, two Honda Jazz cars, a blue Toyota Vios, four motorcycles, two handguns, a hand grenade, a DVD player and an iPhone 5 smartphone.
Evangelista and Hunat were arrested in a house in Pandacan, while Cleto was spotted also in the area while the arresting team was talking with village officials. Evangelista yielded a 9-mm pistol when arrested.
De la Cruz said the blue Honda Jazz used by Cleto in Friday’s robbery was also found in the area, and inside it was De Mesa’s stolen clutch bag.