Robber victimizing women dentists ‘selected victims at random’
It took a while to track down the man who robbed and sexually assaulted women dentists because he picked his victims at random, an official of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said Monday.
Senior Superintendent Conrado Capa, NCRPO intelligence chief, told the Inquirer that the tracker teams assigned to the case spent a considerable amount of time going over the available evidence because the crimes took place in different areas and did not follow a predictable pattern.
“When we looked at the incidents, the only common factor that tied everything together was [that the targets were] female dentists,” the official said. “Other than [that], we could not establish any other element that could serve as a pattern [which would help us go after the perpetrator].”
Following his arrest on Sunday morning, Albert Galang de la Cruz told the authorities who questioned him that he chose his victims randomly.
De la Cruz said that he would walk around an area and after spotting a dental clinic, he would go in and rob the establishment.
Capa said that intelligence operatives stumbled upon a break in the spate of robbery-rape cases when one of the victims positively identified De la Cruz’s cohort, Ronald Bulalacao Policarpio.
The victim said that after De la Cruz ransacked her clinic, he turned over the loot to Policarpio who was waiting outside the establishment.
When the police showed her pictures from their file of known criminals, she recognized Policarpio through a tattoo on his hand.
Police operatives then went to the places where Policarpio was known to hang out. With the help of tipsters, they found him in Quezon City on Wednesday.
Upon interrogation, Policarpio confessed that he took part in just two robberies. He also told them where they could find De la Cruz, resulting in the latter’s arrest in Pilar Village, Las Piñas City, on Sunday morning.
When questioned, De la Cruz immediately owned up to 19 of the 23 robberies recorded by the police, according to NCRPO chief Director Alan Purisima.
Capa said they were looking into the possibility that De la Cruz had other accomplices aside from Policarpio because they failed to recover most of the loot he took from his victims.
“We’re looking [for] other accomplices who might have sold the stolen items to pawnshops and made money out if it,” Capa added, although he declined to elaborate to avoid jeopardizing follow-up operations.
Capa said that they were working on the documents necessary for the filing of charges against the two suspects.
For his part, Dr. Roberto Tajonera, president of the Philippine Dental Association, expressed relief over the arrest of De la Cruz although he said this was no reason for him and other dentists to let their guard down.
One of De la Cruz’s victims said that after the robbery, she stopped accepting walk-in clients even though it meant a loss in income.
“He’s not the only robber in the world so I’ve taken certain security precautions,” she told the Inquirer on Monday.
Although it has been more than a month since De la Cruz walked into her clinic in Quezon City and robbed her, she confessed that she still has to recover from the ordeal.
“Walk-in clients [account for] around 80 percent of [my patients] but then I’d rather not risk my life for [money],” she said.
His arrest, however, has assuaged some of her apprehensions.
“I went back to work a month after the incident. I am more calm now. I am glad that he has been caught,” she said.
According to her, Chief Inspector Ferjen Torred of the NCRPO called her up on Sunday morning to tell her about De la Cruz’s arrest.
She said she would file charges against him along with the other victims.
Her husband’s backpack, which was among the things De la Cruz took from her clinic and then turned over to Policarpio, was recovered from the latter during his arrest.
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