Syndicates has new modus operandi in bank, pawnshop robberies

Lapu-Lapu is a central figure in the seal of t...
A May 16, 2011 press release by the Department of the Interior and Local Government
Secretary Jesse M. Robredo of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday forewarned local officials on the new modus operandi being used by organized syndicates in robbing jewelry shops, pawnshops, and banks.
Robredo issued the warning after the Chamber of Pawnshops of the Philippines (CPPI) revealed to him and officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) its members’ accounts of the operations. The CPPI sought the DILG-PNP’s assistance in preventing robberies in the said establishments through the participation of barangay officials.
Secretary Robredo said, based on the information provided by CPPI, that local and police officials should be on alert when individuals rent out vacant business space at the side of, or on top, or at the back of an existing pawnshop, bank, or jewelry shop.
He said these groups go about their operations at night, especially during long weekends. They start by disconnecting the alarm systems and security cameras of the target establishments, and drilling through the adjoining walls as entry points through the use of advanced equipment; after which, they will forcibly open the vault with portable acytelene and cart away valuable materials such as cash and jewelry items, he added.
In case there are no vacant spaces for rent close to the establishment, and if it is located near creeks or waterways, the DILG Secretary said these syndicates resort to forcible entry, underground tunneling or passing through big drainage systems along the street fronting the target establishment.
“In this case, they open the floor of the vault of the pawnshop as entry point, forcibly open the vault and take away all the valuable items in the vault,” he said.
In his directive, Robredo specifically called on all barangay officials, as chairpersons of the Barangay Peace and Order Committee, to immediately mobilize on a regular basis their barangay tanods for rounds, especially during night time and wee hours of the day.
“Barangay officials should closely coordinate with and immediately report to the local police any suspicious movements or persons/characters roaming in areas near the said establishments so that the latter can undertake more in-depth surveillance and make the necessary arrests,” he said.
The DILG Secretary also urged barangays to disseminate information on the new modus operandi to their constituents, including civil society organizations, to widen public awareness and support for the prevention of such incidents in their areas.
“You should also coordinate with the city/municipal peace and order council so that such incidents may be addressed in the local peace and order plan,” Robredo advised the barangay officials.