By Jel Santos
Five suspected pickpockets who allegedly prey on bus passengers were apprehended by four rookie policemen in Makati City on Thursday night.
Chief Insp Gideon Ines Jr., Makati police assistant chief of police for administration (ACOPA), identified the suspects as Romero Flores, 31; Ramil Bitoy, 34; John Paul Perez, 39; Richie Reyes, 27; and Roel “Kokoy” Rustan, 48, the alleged leader of their group.
The arresting officers were PO1 Eric Martinez; PO1 Norie Galit; PO1 Joven Pindog; and PO1 Gemar Garcia.
Around 10 p.m., the five suspects victimized nine passengers of a bus travelling along EDSA-Buendia.
Two victims, identified as Allen Karl Casin, 20, and Manuel Abediano, 45, reported the incident at the four cops stationed along Buendia.
The policemen stopped the bus and apprehended the five suspects that passengers identified as pickpockets.
Ines said Rustan was arrested in November last year for pickpocketing and was only out on bail.
“They always get away with this because it is a bailable offense. In most cases, they get free because complainants do not attend hearings that leads to dismissal of the cases files against them,” he told the Manila Bulletin.
“This time, nine were victimized by them, but only two people want to pursue a case against them.”
Ines said if people keep on tolerating such abuse, pickpockets will continue their operations.
The Makati police ACOPA head said that Rustan is a veteran pickpocket, saying he has been doing such for years.
“We learned that their group is being protected by former cops. We are now probing this,” he said.
Seized from them were nine cellular phones they reportedly took from the passengers.