By Jennifer P. Rendon
The Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) again cautioned the public, especially car owners, against thieves preying on valuables kept inside their vehicles.
Colonel Joeresty Coronica, Iloilo City police chief, called for vigilance following two reported basag-kotse incidents in the metropolis.
“As we always say, please don’t leave valuables inside your vehicles. Don’t store your bags, even if there are no valuable belongings inside, in areas where it is visible from the outside,” he said.
Coronica said car owners or drivers should park their vehicles at well-lighted places.
The dangers of being victimized by basag-kotse thieves will also be minimized if it is parked in an area conspicuous to security personnel.
Presently, Coronica said intelligence operatives have not monitored any basag-kotse gangs in Iloilo City.
The two incidents appeared to be unrelated and perpetrated by “lone wolves.”
“The suspects saw an opportunity and made the attack,” Coronica said.
One of the two incidents was recorded in Molo, Iloilo City on March 13.
In a Facebook post, Christine Joy Ganancial Pabiona, a medical representative, said that the incident happened around 12:57 a.m. last Monday while her vehicle was parked at San Juan St., Barangay San Antonio, Molo.
She only discovered that the right side back door window of her Toyota Wigo hatchback was broken around 9:30 a.m. on the said date.
Upon checking, around 45 assorted food items worth around P4,000 were already missing.
CCTV footage captured a man circling Pabiona’s vehicle.
But police believed that the suspect was familiar with the area because he knew the locations of the CCTV cameras.
Four days later, another basag-kotse incident happened at Quezon St., Barangay Nonoy, City Proper district.
Jingyu Dogoldogol, 38, of Deca Homes Subdivision, Barangay Jibao-an, Pavia, Iloilo, said that he parked his service vehicle, a gray Mitsubishi Adventure AUV, near a church.
But when he returned by 12:30 p.m., he discovered that the right passenger side window was already broken and his backpack was already missing.
The bag contained two bank passbooks, a door key, receipts, a checkbook, and several checks.
It can be noted that the last known basag-kotse incident happened more than four years ago in Tibiao, Antique.
It victimized a police official who lost his caliber .9mm Tanfoglio pistol placed in the car’s glove compartment.
In Iloilo City, basag-kotse incidents started in 2009.
After victimizing several car owners, the suspects went on hiatus and returned in 2011.
Several incidents were also reported in 2012 and 2014.
Of the number of cases, only one group was arrested but they were able to post bail.