POLICE Regional Office 4-A director, Brigadier General Jose Melencio C. Nartatez Jr. on Sunday announced the capture of six notorious heavily-armed robbery-holdup suspects operating in Calabarzon region and Metro Manila and targeting mostly 24-hour convenience stores following separate hot pursuit operations conducted by his men.
The official said that four of the suspects were arrested in their hideout in Barangay Calzada in Tipas, Taguig City following an operation conducted by agents of the PRO4-A Regional Intelligence Division and Special Operations Unit and the Rizal, Laguna and Cavite Police Provincial Intelligence Units on Saturday.
The hot pursuit operation was launched by the PRO4-A operatives after the suspects barged inside an Alfamart convenience store in Advincula Avenue, Bgy. Calapan 2-A in Imus, City, Cavite early Friday morning and at gunpoint asked the crew to lead them to their vault.
The suspects who wore facemasks fled on board two motorcycles after stealing P30,000 cash and four mobile phones belonging to the store crew.
Brig. Gen. Nartatez said that the suspects who were identified as Larry Gilbero Jr.,20; Jessierell Cañete,22; John Clister Balderama,19; and Diosdado Tamondong Jr.,19, were tracked down in their Taguig City hiding place following a review of all available CCTV footages starting from the store they held up and along their escape routes.
“Our investigators also managed to track them down with the help of a GPS tracker installed in one of the mobile phones they have stolen,” the PRO4-A director said.
Recovered from the suspects during their arrest were two caliber .38 pistols, one cal. .22 pistol, assorted live ammunition, a hand grenade and several stolen mobile phones.
The official said that a blue Mio motorcycle used by the suspects during the Cavite heist was also recovered during the Taguig operation. The motorbike already had its plate number detached and placed inside its U-box.
The Alfamart crew positively identified the motorcycle as one of the two getaway vehicles of the suspects. They also identified a recovered ‘Champion’ baseball cap as being used by one of the four robbers.
Brig. Gen. Nartatez said he has ordered a continuing hunt for the other cohorts of the four who are all believed to have been involved in a string of robbery-holdup cases victimizing Alfa Mart and 7-Eleven convenience stores in Region 4-A and the metropolis this year.
He said that include a heist at an Alfamart branch in Las Piñas City last September 22; a 7-Eleven branch in Bgy. Nueva, San Pedro City in Laguna last Sept. 6; a robbery at an Alfamart branch in Bgy. Tagpos in Binangonan, Rizal last November 13; another heist at an Alfamart branch in Bgy. Darangan in Binangonan last Nov. 16; a holdup at the Alfamart branch in Bgy. Dulong Bayan in Bacoor City in Cavite last Nov. 17; a robbery at an Alfamart branch in Bgy. Salinas 4 in Bacoor City last Nov. 17; a robbery at the Alfamart branch in Bgy. Darasa in Tanauan City, Batangas last Nov. 21; and a heist at the Alfamart branch in Bgy. Tatala in Binangonan last Nov. 24.
“Our investigators are already preparing and documenting an air-tight case to indict the suspects on the robbery incidents that they have committed,” said Brig. Gen. Nartatez even as he encouraged all Calabarzon establishment owners to tighten their security round-the-clock.
The two other suspects identified as Grreggy Saavedra,31; and Rolly Boncales Jr.,38, were arrested following a hot pursuit operation which ended up in a firefight in Bgy. Talaba 7 in Bacoor City on Saturday morning.
A 3rd suspect identified as Alvin Tabirao is still being hunted as of press time said Cavite Police Provincial Office director, Colonel Christopher F. Olazo.
The official said that the suspects were identified as the occupants of a red Toyota Wigo with plate no. DAY 1667 who were involved in a robbery incident in Bahayang Pag-asa in Molino 3, Bacoor City.
While being flagged down, the driver of the car stepped on the gas as his companion fired shots at the officers. A car chase ensued until the two abandoned their vehicle near the Talaba Cockpit Arena and sought refuge in nearby houses.
With the help of concerned citizens, Cavite policemen arrested Saavedra who was found to have suffered a gunshot wound in his shoulder during the brief firefight. Bongcales was arrested in the same area.
Confiscated from the duo’s possession were a cal. .38 pistol with a magazine containing four live ammunition, a hand grenade and four stolen cellphones.
Brig. Gen. Nartatez commended the Bacoor City policemen and the other PRO4-A personnel involved in the arrest of the six suspects.
“The patrollers and operatives of Bacoor City Police Station have shown exemplary conduct with their prompt actions in this incident. It takes courage and decisiveness to overcome this kind of situation. Their dedication and perseverance led in the immediate arrest of two robbery suspects within the day. I am also thankful that there were no casualties in our side during the armed confrontation,” he said.
All arrested suspects will be facing non-bailable charges for illegal possession of firearms and explosives, Nartatez said.