MANILA, Philippines – Two of the suspects in the daring jewelry shop robbery in SM Megamall last Saturday night have been identified, police said.
Senior Superintendent Florendo Quibuyen, Mandaluyong Police officer-in-charge, said the jewelry store saleslady and her head have positively identified the two suspects based on the police rogues' gallery.
"Sa sketch na ginawa ng ating artist, parang may semblance doon sa mga litrato sa rogues gallery na ibinigay namin sa dalawang witnesses. Positively namang naituro yung dalawang suspek," Quibuyen told radio dzMM.
Quibuyen said an operation has been launched to capture the suspects. He declined to provide more information so as not to jeopardize it.
He said the Philippine National Police - Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies (PNP-SOSIA) and the SM management will conduct a parallel investigation into the possible lapses of the security agency tasked to ensure the safety of mall-goers.
150+ pieces of jewelry
It only took the robbers two minutes to filch more than 150 pieces of jewelry at the F and C Jewelry Store in SM Megamall at around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
At least four robbers, supposedly members of the notorious "Martilyo Gang," studied the mall's layout closely, allowing them to do the crime swiftly.
The suspects wore white shirts and jeans and used a pipe wrench to break the glass jewelry case. The pipe wrench was allegedly bought from a hardware store inside the mall.
The robbers allegedly fired two shots to trigger panic among the shoppers, allowing them to blend in and escape. Two slugs from a .45 caliber gun were recovered at the scene.
In 2011, at least three shooting incidents happened in SM malls.
In July that year, a security guard was killed in a shootout with a Games and Amusement Board employee inside the restroom of SM Delgado Mall in Iloilo City.
Two months after, a woman shot and killed her husband, a sales clerk in SM North Edsa, who allegedly left her for another woman. The security guard who tried to stop the woman from committing suicide was also shot and killed.
That same month, a 13-year-old boy killed his alleged lover and then shot himself in the head.