Manila cops catch con man, impress American victim
AN AMERICAN tourist has lauded the Manila police for catching a con man who robbed him of over P6,000 inside a taxi cab.
Timothy A. O’Leary, 59, former public information officer of the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific, shared his story with the Inquirer because “I want people to know so they can learn from my experience.” “The cops were phenomenal. They were able to solve this case really fast,” he said.
O’Leary has been visiting the county since 2011. He said he considers Filipinos generally kind and honest. One time, he left in a bus a backpack full of gadgets which was returned to him by the man who found it.
On June 16, however, he fell victim to a con man, Biel Bersamino, 57, who preyed on foreigners. The suspect was charged with robbery on Thursday in the Manila City Prosecutor’s Office after he was caught robbing a Canadian tourist, Garet Alexander.
O’Leary told the Inquirer that on June 16, he was hailing a cab on Makati Avenue when Bersamino befriended him, introducing himself as a security guard at one of the cafes the American frequented.
The two started talking and the suspect told him that he was on his way to Manila to visit his sick mother. Touched by the suspect’s story, O’Leary offered him a ride since he was on his way to Roxas Boulevard.
However, when they got to Dagonoy Market in San Andres, Bersamino declared a holdup, forcing him to give up his money which consisted of P2,000 and $100. O’Leary said he filed a complaint with the police.
A week later, Bersamino was arrested near the market after another foreigner, a Canadian tourist, cried for help while the suspect was robbing him inside a taxi cab. According to the Canadian, Bersamino had also befriended him, prompting him to offer the suspect a ride.
O’Leary said he received a call from SPO2 James Pozo of the Manila Police District General Assignment Section who remembered his case and his description of the suspect.
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