Suspect in P2.7M money changer theft arrested

By: Jennifer P. Rendon

POLICE collared the suspect behind the P2.7-million money changer robbery in Boracay Island last Aug. 7, 2019.

Leandro Sarito was arrested at his boarding house in Sitio Hagdan, Barangay Yapak, Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan around 2 a.m. of August 9.

Sarito, 24, who hails from Barangay Canduyong, Odiongan, Romblon, used to work for Golden Foreign Exchange Services Money Changer.

Police Major Jess Baylon, Malay police chief, said the bag stolen from the money changer shop was recovered.

However, “the amount is short by P301,000,” Baylon said.

Sarito was arrested after investigators asked the money changer management for the roster of its current and previous employees.

Police then noticed that Sarito’s features matched the person who was caught by security cameras stealing the cash-laden backpack.

Baylon said the suspect admitted stealing the cash.

“It’s not true that he surrendered because he was bugged by his conscience. We arrested him,” Baylon said.

Sarito allegedly claimed that he managed to enter the padlocked store using a card and immediately took a bag containing around P2.5 million.

Aside from the cash inside the bag, he also took P170,000 from the counter, a mobile phone, a bank passbook, and a check book.

When he reached his place, Sarito checked the bag and was surprised with the amount of money stashed inside.

His plan was to steal money for his fare back to Romblon.

Conscience allegedly drove him to call Nico Jun Caagbay, another employee of the money changing business, and admitted that the money was with him.

Caagbay, 26, who hails from San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, was the one who reported the incident around 1:00 p.m. of Aug. 7.

The complainant, who temporarily resides at Sitio Tulubhan, Barangay Manoc-Manoc, Boracay Island, works for the money changer which is owned by his sister’s Korean live-in partner.

Caagbay said he left the shop located near D’ Talipapa at Sitio Sitio Manggayad, Barangay Balabag, to attend to his personal needs at the nearby comfort room.

But before leaving, he allegedly locked the door and even told a sales lady at the nearby store that he would just go to the toilet.

But when he went back, he was surprised that the “locked door” was open and that his bag along with other valuables at the counter had gone missing.

Closed circuit television (CCTV) footage caught Sarito as he was walking from the front beach.

Baylon said they would not end their investigation with the suspect’s arrest.

“We would try to ascertain if there was connivance with other persons,” he said.

There were reports that Caagbay and the money changer shop’s owner will no longer pursue criminal charges against Sarito.

But Baylon said they would also encourage the owner to file criminal charges against the suspect and whoever was his cohort, if there are any, to send a message that illegal activities are not and will not be tolerated on the island.