Mall rob suspects ‘trike drivers who leveled up’
As one investigator put it, they were tricycle drivers who “leveled up.”
Police on Tuesday presented two men who were allegedly part of the gang that pulled off a daring daytime mall robbery in Quezon City that killed a security guard and injured six others last month.
Chief Superintendent Mario de la Vega, director of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD), said Willy Enriquez and Ireneo de la Cruz were arrested in Iloilo province on Monday and were positively identified by the victims as among the six men who staged the robbery at Robinsons Galleria before noon of March 29.
The two were flown to Manila Tuesday. “It’s a major breakthrough and we are on the tail of the other suspects,” De la Vega said.
He added that Enriquez and De la Cruz were also identified based on footages from the mall’s closed circuit television cameras, and that the suspects’ relatives in Manila provided leads on their location.
But according to National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director Chief Supt. Alan Purisima, the two suspects had an earlier robbery case pending against them at the Pasay City Regional Trial Court and that they were arrested on Monday, also based on the warrant for that case.
For the Robinsons heist, the two will be charged with robbery with homicide in Quezon City, Purisima explained in a briefing late Tuesday.
Purisima said Enriquez and De la Cruz were the suspects who fired at the two security guards—Rodrigo Villa and Roderick Relosio—then escorting a Security Bank teller who was about to deliver cash to Sunry’s money changer shop at the mall’s basement.
Villa later died in the hospital. Aside from Relosio, five others were injured when the other suspects lobbed two grenades as they made their getaway.
Suspects on the move
“We have four victims and witnesses who positively identified these two suspects. We are already sure that these two were part of the team that robbed the money changer,” the NCRPO director said.
Purisima said the two suspects were arrested Monday night while travelling together on a motorcycle in Ubos Poblacion, Ajuy, Iloilo.
“We received information that they will be moving out from Iloilo and going to Bacolod, and that they will be passing by the area. We then waited for them there,” said De la Vega, adding that the two suspects did not resist arrest and yielded two pistols.
Another QCPD source, who declined to be named for lack of clearance to speak on the matter, described the the suspects as tricycle drivers who “leveled up” and ventured into bigtime robbery.
“They met and got together while they were still tricycle drivers in Parañaque City, where they planned their first heist,” the source said.
De la Vega also disclosed that ballistics tests conducted on the slugs and bullets recovered from the Robinsons incident showed that these were fired from the same gun used in four previous robberies.
“We discovered that the slugs were from the same gun used at a shooting incident in Lapu-Lapu City on June 9, 2011; the robbery at a Western Union (shop) in San Pedro, Laguna, on July 9, 2011; in Cagayan de Oro on Aug. 18, 2011; and the robbery and shooting incident at Alabang Town Center on Feb. 10, 2012,” De la Vega said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.