MABALACAT CITY, Pampanga – Four armed men broke into a Japanese restaurant along Lazatin Boulevard in the city of San Fernando, this province, and robbed staff and customers inside the establishment at gunpoint, authorities said on Tuesday, November 21 .
San Fernando Mayor Vilma Caluag and Police Chief Lt. Col. Preston Bagangan condemned the robbery and promised to take measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.
In a late police report obtained by the Inquirer, investigators said the robbery occurred between 9 and 9:30 p.m. on Nov. 18 at the Road Side 9 Japanese restaurant.
Bagangan said the victims were unable to immediately report the robbery to the police because the yet-to-be-identified suspects took their cellphones.
After some victims notified the nearest police station about the robbery, patrol teams were sent to pursue the thieves aboard a white Hyundai Tucson sport utility vehicle that drove off toward MacArthur Highway.
“Our officers chased the suspects’ vehicle until the track was lost in Apalit (the southernmost city in Pampanga, which borders Bulacan),” Bagangan said.
It was learned that the armed suspects took at least P70,000 in cash and the still undetermined value of cell phones and other belongings of the restaurant employees and 13 customers.
Caluag said the lack of security guards “in some establishments” and non-working security cameras on the roads emboldened the culprits.
She said there were also not enough police officers in the capital.
The mayor said San Fernando has a population of more than 357,000 inhabitants at night and millions during the day, including residents from other locations who work, study and pass through the capital, but there were only more than a hundred police officers in the city.
Caluag said he will meet with local business groups to discuss the need to hire security guards and install security cameras at establishments.
She said the city government would also deploy public security personnel along with commercial establishments as force multipliers under police supervision.
San Fernando police are conducting a follow-up investigation to identify and arrest the suspects. INQ