Cops foil ‘termite gang’ pawnshop robbery in Lucena City
LUCENA CITY – Police prevented an attempt by a gang of robbers to rob a pawnshop by tunneling through the drainage in this city on Monday.
Lucena City Police chief Supt. Vicente Cabatingan said one of the “termite” gang members even traded gunshots with police officers who arrived at the pawnshop located infront of a shopping mall in Barangay (village) Ibabang Dupay at around 9:30 a.m.
“There’s a maze of underground tunnels which are not part of the city’s drainage system. The suspects could have escaped in one of the tunnels,” Cabatingan said in a phone interview.
He said local policemen assisted by a crew from the City Engineer’s Office discovered the tunnels.
“Apparently, the tunnels were dug long time ago,” he said.
Police said the attempted robbery was discovered by the security guard and branch manager of Quick Loan Pawnshop after they opened the steel vault to start the day’s business. The two also detected smoke coming
out from under the vault that emitted a foul smell that prompted them to call the police station.
Authorities discovered the cement floor under the vault already cracked that showed signs of an attempted break-in. The shop reported no stolen items.
As of 2:30 p.m. Monday, policemen and a digging crew from the local government were still conducting an inspection on the directions of the discovered tunnels.
This was not the first time a robbery gang struck by tunneling to break into establishments.
In January 2017, robbers also entered a bank and an electronics service center at the other side of the shopping mall through a drainage canal.
The thieves went through a sewerage canal then dug a hole through the bank’s concrete floor to gain entry, destroyed the bank vault and carted away its contents.
The suspects also destroyed the cemented wall of the bank to gain entry to the adjacent Solid Service Electronics Center then also looted the establishment of valuables. /muf