By Glazyl Masculino
BACOLOD CITY – The chief of the Negros Occidental police said four of the nine suspects in the robbery of two jewelry shops here last week, were local members of the Martilyo Gang.
Col. Romeo Baleros said on Tuesday the local suspects acted as contacts by the gang, which is based in Ozamis City.
“We already have photos of all the suspects behind the robbery, but we cannot show them to the media at this time,” Baleros said.
Aside from saying that four of the suspects are from Negros, he declined to divulge more details about them.
Baleros said they are helping the Bacolod police in tracking down the members of the local members of the gang.
Last August 7, nine armed men barged into the Gaisano City Grand Mall here and proceeded directly to the two jewelry shops. Using hammers to smash to display cases, the group carted away P4.5 million worth of jewelry.
Baleros said that the gang “would usually cross over to some parts of Visayas like Bacolod, Iloilo, and Cebu,” adding that the group will not strike in an area where they don’t have contacts.
Baleros said some members of the gang had been arrested but the group never runs out of new recruits.
Based on the way the robbery was done, the suspects were the same group that robbed the same jewelry store and the Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) here few years ago, he said.
Baleros has directed all police chiefs in the province to monitor ports and other entry and exit points in coordination with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Philippine Coast Guard.
“We need the support of the community by reporting sightings of these criminals,” he said.