‘Termite Gang’ digs a tunnel into pawnshop, steals P800K
A group of robbers made off with over P800,000 in cash and jewelry after they dug a tunnel from a drainage canal to break into a pawnshop in Barangay Sto. Niño, Marikina City.
The theft was discovered on Monday morning after the burglar alarm of the establishment went off repeatedly, prompting the police to check the premises.
A report to Chief Supt. Lorenzo Holanday Jr., Marikina police chief, said that around five to six still unidentified members of the “Termite or Acetylene Gang” broke into Capital Pawnshop located on Sumulong Highway.
They took around P600,000 and $1,850 in cash plus several pieces of jewelry worth P20,000.
Robbers trip alarm
Supt. Edwin de Ocampo, Eastern Police District officer in charge, said that based on the initial investigation, the built-in alarm of the pawnshop connected to the Sto. Niño Police Community Precinct 3 went off at 10 p.m. on Sunday. The establishment was closed on that day.
Responding policemen, however, left after seeing that there were no signs of a break-in since the entrance to the pawnshop was shut. When the alarm went off a second time 30 minutes later, authorities called the owners.
At 12:30 a.m. on Monday, the police and two employees of the establishment opened the entrance to the pawnshop and discovered a hole in the floor.
They also found a tunnel leading to a drainage canal just five meters away.
Chief Insp. Eduardo Cayetano, chief of the investigation unit of the Marikina police station, said the suspects could be members of the
so-called termite or acetylene gangs because of their modus operandi of digging underground to break into establishments. In Monday’s break-in, the police speculated that there were probably five to six suspects based on the number of gloves found at the scene.
Suspects monitored targets
“The suspects probably placed the pawnshops [under surveillance] and identified the [one] with a huge cash deposit,” Cayetano said.
Recovered inside the tunnel were two hydraulic jacks, a steel saw, two steel bars and different sizes of wood.
De Ocampo said they were examining the footage taken by a closed circuit television camera in the area to identify the suspects.
This was not the first time robbery gangs struck in Metro Manila using the same modus operandi. Sometimes, they even rent an apartment near their targets and then dig a tunnel from a drainage canal. The gang members then use acetylene torches to cut vaults open.
In October 2014, a robbery group broke into a Pasig City pawnshop, taking P5 million in cash and gadgets. The suspects were found to have dug a tunnel from a manhole which led to Dos Pawnshop and Photo Printing Shop on Market Avenue.
Earlier that same year, the Quezon City police caught in the act two of eight suspected robbers who were digging a tunnel leading to a pawnshop in Quezon City.
Several other members who were asleep at the time were also arrested. Their leader, Julio Bidking, had earlier been caught in Angeles City, Pampanga.
When questioned by the police, he confessed and told the police about the heist in Quezon City. The group had rented an apartment near their target, claiming they were working for a telecom company.
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