CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/12 May) – A Banco de Oro branch downtown here was robbed by at least 12 suspects 10:50 a.m. today who fled away aboard six racing motorcycles.
The management of the bank situated at the junction of Ramon Chavez and Osmeña streets has yet to divulge the exact amount the robbers took away but a witness said he saw one of the suspects carrying a black duffel bag as he was leaving the bank.
Eyewitness Tomas Lagrada, 45, who owns a surplus store beside the bank, said when interviewed right after the robbery that the suspects were stocky-built, tall and “extremely organized.”
“They were on six racing motorbikes positioned in various points in front of the bank. I never thought they were the robbers. They look so respectable, like policemen,” he said.
The man who was carrying the duffel bag, Lagrada said, had a shotgun with him and had a distinguishable scar on his left cheek.
“I think they’re not from Cagayan de Oro. They even looked us straight in the eye,” he added. The lookouts, he said, were carrying 9mm handguns.
After getting out of the bank, the robbers reportedly dispersed into different directions, one of the motorcycles taking Vicente Roa St.
Sr. Insp. Buenaventura Reyes, commander of the nearest police station at Cogon, said they received a call from a concerned citizen about a bank robbery. He said they are now studying the bank’s close-circuit televisions.
“At least three of the suspects were captured on the CCTVs. We will cross-check their faces with our intelligence units for recognition,” Reyes said.
He said one of the suspects was able to carry inside the bank a backpack full of guns, noting that the security guards apparently failed to check the bag.
Preliminary reports from police field operatives said the suspects’ general direction is towards Gingoog City, according to Sr. Supt. Noel Armilla, Regional Intelligence and Investigation Division (RIID) chief.
“Our priority right now is to pursue these suspects,” Armilla told reporters at the crime site.
He said he had already ordered both exit points of the city – at barangays Bulua and Puerto – under a tight watch.
Armilla, who is now based in the provincial police headquarters at Camp Vicente Alagar in Lapasan, added that this morning’s robbery is the first high-profile bank robbery in two years.
“It looks like they had this really planned out, unlike the other petty robberies this month,” he said. (Cong B. Corrales / MindaNews)