By Jennifer P. Rendon
The Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) has warned the public, especially car owners, against unscrupulous individuals preying on valuables inside their vehicles.
Major Rolando Araño, IPPO spokesperson, said that they already issued an advisory to police stations in the province to be on the lookout for basag-kotse suspects or car burglars.
Araño’s warning was made on the heels of a basag-kotse incident in Leganes town on Sunday, Jan. 21, victimizing four vehicles.
“Again, we reiterate to car owners not to leave any valuables inside their vehicles. Don’t leave your bags inside your car even if there are no valuables since it might attract the attention of robbers,” he said.
Araño said that it also pays off to park vehicles in well-lit places.
He noted that robbers and thieves could usually carry out their activities if the area is dark or poorly lit.
In the case of Leganes, the robber struck at the height of the town’s Saad Festival celebration.
Four of the three vehicles were parked in front of a school while the other one was parked near a gasoline station. Some nearby vehicles were spared by the suspects.
The suspect appeared to have picked vehicles that were parked in the dark.
Captain John Robles, Leganes police chief, said the car parked near the gasoline station lost a pouch containing cash and an ATM card.
One of the car owners posted on Facebook that the robber took her shirt, chocolates, and charger.
But more than the missing items, she said that what hurt her the most was the robber destroyed her car.
It was believed that the four incidents happened between 7:30 and 8:45 p.m.
But these were only reported to police authorities at 9 p.m.
While CCTV cameras did not catch the actual robbery, footage showed a man walking away from the area at the time of the incident.
Robles said that he could be the one who robbed the car parked near the gasoline station.
“We’re still trying to determine if he was also responsible for robbing the three other vehicles,” he said.
Robles said they already identified the suspect. “We might file a case against him on Thursday,” Robles said.
The man, who is not from Leganes town, would be charged with robbery with force upon things.
In Iloilo City, basag-kotse incidents started in 2009.
After victimizing several car owners, the suspects went on hiatus and returned in 2011.
Several incidents were also reported in 2012 and 2014.
Of several cases, only one group was arrested but they were able to post bail.