Stolen phone leads to robber’s death

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija – A robbery suspect was killed while his two alleged cohorts were arrested during a shootout with cops who tracked him down through a stolen cellular phone with GPS (Global Positioning System) in Barangay Caalibangbangan, this city, Wednesday night, Jan. 19.

Police have yet to establish the true identity of the fatality who was initially known as “Tolits”. His two arrested cohorts were identified as Christian Soro, 30, and Raymart Hipolito, 27, truck driver, both residents of Brgy. Samon, also this city.

One of the cops, Patrolman Aisar Hajar, assigned to Sta. Maria Police Station in Bulacan, was wounded during the gunfight at about 6 p.m. He sustained a bullet wound in abdomen and was reported to be in stable condition, according to Nueva Ecija police spokesperson Lt. Frank Sindac.

Police said a checkpoint was set up along Maharlika Road after the cops tracked the location of the suspect through the GPS of the cell phone that he stole from one of his victims.

Cornered by the lawmen, the suspect drew a gun and fired upon the apprehending policemen, hitting Hajar in the abdomen.

The cops retaliated, killing the suspect on the spot.

Recovered from the crime scene were one black Yamaha Aerox motorcycle driven by Hipolito, one black helmet with markings RXR, one backpack, a Glock 9mm pistol, a Honda Click 125 motorcycle, four plastic sachets of suspected shabu, and a grenade, according to the police.

Investigation showed that the suspect had just robbed a convenience store in Barangay Isla, Sta. Rosa at around 1:47 p.m., carting away the store's P24,000 sales from its cashier.

The suspect also took from the store's auditor his belongings including a cellular phone and P4,000 before fleeing onboard an unregistered Aerox Yamaha motorcycle.

Early in the day, the suspect also robbed another convenience store on Mabini Street extension at around 7:15 a.m., divesting the shop's sales from the cashier.

"Nailatag na po ang dragnet kasi natukoy na ang galaw ng mga suspek dahil sa GPS device mula sa cellphone ng isa sa mga biktima na mula pa sa Sta. Maria, Bulacan," Sindac said. (Ariel Avendaño)