TAGUIG, Philippines — Using necklaces bought inside the mall as weapons, so-called “alahas gang” caused panic in a Tuesday shopping crowd at SM Haura (SMH) mall here in Taguig during a heist at the Ace Hardware before escaping with an unconfirmed amount of hammers.
This after the Philippine National Police (PNP) and mall owners agreed that customers who will buy hammers will only be given a receipt, which they will have to use to claim the item outside mall premises.
On Wednesday, Investigator PO3 Sherwin Locban said that there were “more or less 6 suspects” involved in the robbery incident inside the mall’s Ace Hardware at around 6:30 PM.
The suspects used gold necklaces bought at the jewelry section of the department store in the same mall, to choke several sales personnel manning the display cabinets containing hammers at the hardware store.
One of the sales personnel, Jakie Abrica shared her harrowing experience.
“Bigla akong sinakal nung isa, gamit yung maganda at mukhang mamahalin na necklace (I was suddenly choked by one of them using a very beautiful and expensive-looking necklace),” said Abrica. “Sabay sabi na ibigay ko daw yung mga martilyo sa kanya (And told me to give him the hammers).”
Another saleslady, who was taken by surprise by the incident narrated her ordeal.
“May biglang lumapit sa akin tapos lumohod, at may linabas na kahon na pang singsing (Someone approached me and then went down on his knees and took out a jewelry box),” narrated Janise Santoc, who fondly imagines herself in one of those romantic wedding proposals that’s all the rage these days.
“Pero imbes na isuot nya yung singsing na may malaking diamante sa daliri ko eh ginamit nya itong panuntok sa akin (But instead of putting the ring with the giant diamond on my finger, he instead used it to punch me in the face).”
Santoc was knocked unconscious from the punch while the romantic robber took all the hammers of various sizes under the saleslady’s brand. She is now at the hospital recovering from multiple concussions.
CCTV footage and sales receipts show the robbers casually walking into the jewelry section, which was now heavily guarded after the incident over the weekend, and bought several items of expensive jewelry with their own hard-earned money. Among those purchased were 24-carat gold necklaces, chokers (ironically), huge diamond rings and Charriol bracelets used cunningly as brass knuckles.
After quickly hauling all the hammers – the amount of which is yet to be determined – the suspects escaped by mixing with panicking mallgoers.
Mall officials and the police are now assessing whether to implement stricter rules when purchasing jewelry from now on, instead of implementing stricter security measures mall-wide.
Stay tuned for more updates.