MANILA, Philippines - Two employees of a private gun store were arrested yesterday for allegedly stealing at least 63 short firearms worth over P11.7 million from the storage facilities of the Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) at Camp Crame in Quezon City.
Police identified the suspects as Harold Sumalde, 23, vault keeper at Juavi Gun Store; and Raymond Lopez, 34, company driver, of Ulingan street, Lawang Bato in Valenzuela City.
Sumalde admitted taking the guns and pointed to Lopez as the one who sold the firearms, according to Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief Director Benjamin Magalong.
Senior Superintendent Roberto Fajardo, chief of the CIDG-National Capital Region, said Sumalde admitted that they started stealing the guns from the FEO storage facilities last year.
“The modus operandi was to find a buyer and when someone agreed to buy a gun, Sumalde, being the vault keeper, would get the firearm from the storage facility,” Fajardo told The STAR.
A representative of Juavi Gun Store had earlier complained about the disappearance of the short firearms.
FEO chief Senior Superintendent Robert Po said investigators found out that 63 firearms were missing, including units of Caracal 9mm, Sphinx 3000 Compact, Kriss Vector and Arcus 98 DAC, following an inventory.
The suspects will be charged with qualified theft and violation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition, Fajardo said.
“A joint investigation by the CIDG and FEO is ongoing to recover the stolen firearms and to locate those who bought the guns,” he said.