Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - An attempt by six men to rob a Metro Manila pawnshop by digging a tunnel leading to the establishment from an apartment across the street was foiled when one of them accidentally triggered the alarm connected to the vault.
Unknown to the thieves, the alarm alerted the pawnshop owner who lived nearby. She called up the police who quickly responded and caught two of the robbers. Their cohorts, however, managed to escape.
Superintendent Norberto Babagay, Quezon City Police District Station 11 commander, identified those who were arrested as Reggie Balakwa, 19, and Brandon Paltek, 32, both natives of La Trinidad in Benguet province.
They were caught inside the makeshift tunnel at 2:10 a.m. Sunday, just minutes after they broke into Sunshine Pawnshop on Luzon Avenue corner Unang Hakbang Street in Barangay (village) San Isidro, Quezon City.
Babagay said they were alerted to the break-in by the pawnshop owner, Ma. Elizabeth Bercasio, 52, who woke up when the alarm went off.
The police also recovered 96,000 pesos (US$2,200) in cash, which was taken by the robbers from a cabinet inside the pawnshop. The thieves failed to open the vault.
Case officer Police Officer 2 Joseph Cortes said that the robbers had been renting an apartment from across the pawnshop since February 29. From there, they dug a tunnel 50 meters long, which led to a sewer in front of the pawnshop. They then bore a hole through the flooring of the establishment