UPDATE: Armed men rob M Lhuillier branch in CDO

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/22 July) — A band of robbers armed with KG-9 machine pistols and hammers robbed the M Lhuillier branch at SM City in Upper Carmen in Cagayan de Oro City Tuesday night and carted away an estimated P5 million in jewelry, City Councilor Ramon Tabor said.

The robbers numbering around 10 men fired their guns inside the mall sending customers and mall employees scampering for safety, Tabor said.

A security guard of M Lhuillier identified as Ellah Solaron was rushed to the hospital after sustaining injuries when she was pistol-whipped by the robbers.

A pregnant shopper was also rushed to the hospital when she complained of pains after she scampered for cover inside the mall.

Responding policemen armed with M16 assault rifles and other guns closed down the mall believing the robbers were still inside.

Many of the shoppers, store clerks and waiters sought cover in their establishments for more than an hour as policemen searched the entire mall for the robbers. They were allowed to go out around 9pm.

“We are all safe. Everyone of our customers and employees are safe,” SM City information officer Ivy Guantero said.

Tabor, chair of the City Council committee on police, fire and public safety, who went to SM City during the shooting, described the scene as chaotic.

“There are many broken glasses inside the mall. I can see bullet holes on the walls,” he told MindaNews by phone.

He said the police told him that 10 robbers carried out the jewelry heist at M Lhuillier.

He said all the robbers managed to get inside the mall despite the security check at the doors.

“Some of them went to Ace Hardware and bought hammers,” Tabor narrated, adding two of the robbers went inside M Lhuillier and immediately destroyed the display cases containing the jewelries.

“They scooped the jewelries but I suspect they have no idea which of the jewelries are expensive. Some of the more expensive jewelries are still there,” he said.

The councilor said the robbers fired their guns as soon as they finished robbing the jewelry store.

Marlon Mansour, manager of Data World at the SM City third floor, said the shooting started around 7:30pm and he heard around 12 gunshots.

“The firing continued for several minutes and we just stayed inside our store,” Mansour said.

He said they later saw policemen searching the stores for the robbers. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)