Remnants of Alvin Flores gang eyed in QC bank heist | Inquirer News

Remnants of Alvin Flores gang eyed in QC bank heist

/ 03:27 PM July 16, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – The daring bank robbery late Friday afternoon in Quezon City was so “quick, organized and precise” that police investigators  surmised it was carried out by remnants of the notorious Alvin Flores gang.

In fact, the actual robbery happened under less than four minutes with each member of the gang acting his own role like clockwork, said Chief Inspector Rodelio Marcelo.

“There seemed to be no one calling the shots while the heist was ongoing. Each suspect was doing his own part,” the police official said Saturday.

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Marcelo, chief of the QCPD’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit, said he suspected that the remnants of the Alvin Flores gang, Ampang Colangco and Kuratong Baleleng groups were behind the robbery.

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He cited the clockwork precision of the robbery, the number of suspects involved and the snappy execution of the robbery as similar to the modus operandi of the said groups.

Most of the suspects wore bonnets, save for one who did not wear anything to hide his face, Marcelo said. Police have come up with an artist sketch of the unmasked suspect.

Marcelo described the unmasked suspect as having fair complexion, around 5’6” in height and was in his 30s.

“The assailants were all bulky and heavily built,” he added, noting that some even wore vests and bandoliers containing their ammunition.

Alvin Flores and three gang members were killed in a shootout with law enforcers in 2009 in Cebu. The group is known for using police and military uniforms during heists.

In Friday’s robbery, 15 to 20 men armed with high powered firearms such as M14s, M16s and even a M203 grenade launcher struck the Bank of Philippine Islands branch on Commonwealth Ave.

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QCPD director Chief Superintendent George Regis said the heist happened at around 4:20 p.m. just when the bank was about to close for the day, overpowering four security guards.

Initial investigation revealed that the robbers were aboard three vehicles – a red Mitsubishi L300 (plate number USR 915), a blue Toyota Revo (XLV 583) and a green Mitsubishi Adventure.

Regis said nine suspects entered the bank’s basement entrance where deposits and bill payments were made.

“The robbers divested two tellers of their collections after which seven men went up to the ground level, which had more tellers,” the police official said.

Three other men entered through the ground level’s main entrance and together the 10 suspects at the ground level proceeded to rob the tellers of their collections, three cellphones and a laptop.

The robbers had tried to open the bank vault which was protected by a time-delay lock, Regis added.

Luckily, a three-man detective patrol team led by Chief Inspector Wilfredo Alfonso of the Batasan police station happened to be driving by the bank.

Regis said the lookouts outside the bank engaged the patrolling cops in a firefight even while their cohorts were still inside the bank.

A four-man back up team arrived just minutes later but even with high-powered firearms, the policemen were no match for the 20-something robbers firing shots at the cops.

“Our policemen were only seven while the suspects were around 20,” Marcelo noted.

No one among the cops and robbers were injured, but the suspects fired at a passing car, injuring four civilians.

Marcelo added that there seemed to be some lookouts also acting as snipers, taking shots at cops and civilians alike.

“A suspect even stood along Commonwealth Avenue and brandished his firearm, as if to clear the lane for the getaway vehicles,” the police official said, citing witnesses’ accounts.

The last high-profile robbery in Quezon City was in September 2009 during which robbers divested an armored van in the Muñoz area.

“Perhaps it was only now that those remnants of the groups were able to form a group and strike again,” Marcelo noted.

Regis said it was still unclear as to how much the suspects were able to cart away as the QCPD was still waiting for a final accounting from the BPI.

“We will cross match the recovered shells with the police’s records,” he added.

The QCPD chief said they would ask nearby establishments to give them a copy of their CCTV footage to supplement the BPI’s own footage inside the bank.

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A source, who asked not to be named for lack of authority to speak on the matter, warned that the Friday robbery might be succeeded by even more daring heists in Metro Manila. “The fact that there is an active bank robbery group again may mean that other incidents would follow,” the agent said.

TAGS: Crime, Metro, News, robbery

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