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7 ‘budol-budol’ gang members arrested after victim spots fake money

Seven members of a “budol-budol” gang known for swindling senior citizens were arrested in Valenzuela City on Monday right after they victimized an elderly woman.

Based on police estimates, the gang, which had been operating for nearly three years, took around P1 million in cash and valuables from at least four victims, said Senior Supt. Rolando Mendoza, city police chief.

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Rosalie Ramirez, Andy dela Cuesta, Felix Serrano, Rogelio Barcelo, Rizalyn Hernandez, Gina dela Cruz and Ireneo Lapuz were arrested at 2:30 p.m. Monday on G. Lazaro Street in Barangay Dalandanan after robbing 50-year-old Carmen Balucatin of P3,000.

Asking for directions

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Balucatin told reporters that she was first approached by Dela Cruz and Serrano who pretended to ask for directions and later convinced her to accompany them in their van where the others were waiting.

During the ride, the group claimed they could help her make more money if she would show them her bank passbook and give them P3,000 in exchange for P5,000.

Balucatin, however, realized she had been duped when she found out that they gave her a fake P500 bill stapled to paper cutouts.

She asked for help from policemen who caught the suspects after a brief chase, said Senior Insp. Romeo Hizon, police investigation unit chief.

Another victim who came forward said she was conned out of P225,000 on Feb. 15 after Hernandez and Dela Cruz pretended to be Chinese women.

Feigning Chinese accents and flaunting huge wads of “cash,” the suspects sought her help in opening an account in a Malinta bank.

Gang’s modus operandi

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Mendoza said the seven had one modus operandi — pretending to ask for directions or feigning cluelessness and then convincing their victims to ride with them in their vehicle where they were convinced to part with their valuables.

The suspects, who all admitted to swindling senior citizens, would be charged with syndicated (large-scale) estafa and robbery with threat, according to Hizon.

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TAGS: Budol-Budol gang, swindling case
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