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‘Acetylene gang’ may strike over long weekend, police warn businesses

By Karen Boncocan
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 17:33:00 04/20/2011

Filed Under: Robbery and theft, Banking, business

MANILA, Philippines?Beware of the acetylene gang, a police official said Wednesday.

Also known as the "daga-daga" gang (?daga? is Filipino term for rat), National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Nicanor Bartolome warned businesses against the gang which was known to strike "high value targets" on long weekends.

Bartolome said that the warning was made in light of the recent operation of the acetylene gang in Angono, Rizal. Police all over Metro Manila were also directed to patrol establishments that the group may target during the long weekend.

According to the NCRPO chief, the acetylene gang targets banks, pawnshops, jewelry stores, and money changers?business establishments which store cash or high value merchandise. The gang were known to dig their way, undetected, into their target establishment, Bartolome said.

He said that the "daga-daga" gang would rent a place near their target and use drainage systems or underground canals, digging their way into the establishment. Once the gang has gained access, they would use acetylene torches and bolt cutters to open the vaults.

Bartolome urged business owners to be vigilant and inspect their establishments before closing shop for the long weekend. He also reminded them to be observant in their area, especially if they notice new faces in their neighborhood.

The NCRPO chief also said that it was important to check whether security alarms were working and have security guards patrol shops on irregular intervals.

Usual suspects, Bartolome stated, were small enough to squeeze into small canals, drainages or tunnels. He said some groups even use children to carry out their plans.

"Inform your nearest police station or call Patrol 117, 838-1505; text 09178475757 or PNP TEXT 2920," Bartolome urged those who may observe signs that the acetylene gang may be present in their area.

Rather than being reactive to crimes, Bartolome said that they wanted to ?prevent the occurrence of these types of crime.?



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