MANILA, Philippines (7th UPDATE) – A jewelry store inside SM Megamall was robbed Saturday night, causing panic among shoppers.
Mall-goers said gunshots were heard, prompting most of them to hide inside the stores.
Photo courtesy of Robert Mano, dzMM
A mall-goer, Ramilo Sevron, said he heard multiple gunshots, but could not determine where it came from.
“Naglalakad ako sa may basement tapos biglang may nagtakbuhan, akala ko kung ano nangyari. Narinig ko ‘yung iba na nagsabing may barilan daw, bigla na rin ako napatakbo kasi narinig ko na rin ‘yung putok,” he told dzMM.
Initial investigations showed that at least 4 to 5 suspects robbed F and C Jewelry Store located at the ground floor of the mall’s Building B department store at around 7:30 p.m.
Earlier: SM Megamall during lock-down -- Courtesy of @patirisyan pic.twitter.com/xZZxFYMh
Chief Supt. Miguel Laurel, district director of the Eastern Police District said the suspects, who were seen wearing white shirts and jeans, used a pipe wrench to break the glass jewelry case.
The pipe wrench was allegedly bought at a hardware store inside the mall.
Police have yet to confirm if the suspects are members of the “Martilyo Gang”, which also robbed jewelry inside a Pasay mall in August 2012.
One of the suspects was reportedly injured after breaking the glass, said Laurel.
“It appears na pagtakas niya, sumabit ‘yung kamay niya kaya nasugatan,” he told dzMM.
Laurel said the suspects fired 2 shots to trigger a panic among the shoppers, which led to their escape.
“They fired 2 shots to scare the shoppers, and that’s when they blended in with the people escaping,” he said in a separate interview on ANC’s “The World Tonight”.
Two slugs from a .45 caliber firearm were recovered at the scene.
Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos confirmed that gunshots were fired inside the mall, but stressed that there were no casualties.
“Huwag mag-alala kung may mga kamag-anak kayo na nasa SM ngayon, wala hong nasaktan. Tapos na ito at everything is under control. Umakto kaagad ang SM management at mga pulis,” he told dzMM.
He also denied that any hostage-taking occurred inside the mall.
The suspects, however, have yet to be arrested. Police are in pursuit of the suspects, as of posting.
Laurel noted that the faces of 2 of the suspects were clearly seen in CCTV footage.
Police are still determining how much jewelry was stolen.
SM Supermalls President Annie Garcia, meanwhile, said the mall has resumed operations.
She said SM will cooperate with the authorities in the investigation. -- Report from Robert Mano, dzMM; ANC