POZORRUBIO, Pangasinan: Police have identified the slain leader of a robbery-carnap gang who was killed along with his four cohorts in a shootout with policemen in a hotel in this town on Friday afternoon.
The gang leader was identified as Angelo Arpilleda of Castillejos, Zambales by his mother who arrived here on Saturday to claim his body.
Police said Arpilleda, who introduced himself as lawyer Jefferson Bermudez, was involved in a string of robbery and car theft cases in the provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Olongapo, La Union and Pangasinan.
Pangasinan Police Regional Director, Senior Supt. Ronald Oliver Lee said the suspects were killed in a shoot-out with police operatives from Mangaldan, Urdaneta City; Regional Investigation and Detections Management Division of Region 4A (Laguna) and the Pangasinan Provincial Intelligence Branch and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
The policemen responded to a report about armed men who checked in at RDL Hotel in Poblacion District 11 on Friday morning.
Chief Insp. Melecio Mina, Pozorrubio chief of police, told The Manila Times that two of the suspects fired shots at policemen as they approached the hotel resulting in a shoot out with all five gang members.
Scene of the crime operatives recovered three shotguns and two caliber .38 pistols from the slain suspects.
A black Toyota Fortuner the suspects reportedly carnapped from businessman Rosauro Benito of Santa Barbara, Pangasinan and which they used in robbing gasoline stations was recovered at the hotel.
Benito told investigators that the suspects forcibly took his vehicle from his driver, Charlie Cabalar, along Tapuac in Dagupan City at about 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Three of the suspects riding a Honda Civic car without license plates cut Cabalar’s path along the national road and took the vehicle at gunpoint and abducted Cabalar. Upon reaching Bugallon town they ordered him to take off his clothes and run towards a ricefield.
Cabalar was able to report to the police station in Bugallon where he positively identified three of the four suspects as Arpilleda, Jomar Bonifacio, Arjay Morales and Florence Olivar Eugenio from the rouge gallery. One of the slain suspects was not identified since his picture was not included in the police files.
Meanwhile, on board Benito’s Fortuner, the suspects proceeded to Camiling Tarlac where they robbed a gasoline station then headed to Masinloc, Zambales where they robbed another gasoline station that night.
Chief Insp. Dave Mahilum of Manaoag police station confirmed that the suspects robbed the Centrum Gasoline station in Brgy. Babasit on Oct. 10.
On Oct. 22, they reportedly robbed a gasoline station in Agoo, La Union.
The group are also the suspects in the robbery of a grocery store in Cabayao, Laguna on Oct. 24 and looting of a pawnshop in Dasmariñas, Cavite on October 23.
Investigators, however could not immediately confirm if the suspects were the same persons killed in the Friday encounter.
Mother identifies suspect
Arpilleda’s mother said he was a former law student.
He was arrested in Olongapo City while in the act of using prohibited drugs with three others in 2012 and detained for almost four years but was released by the court in 2016.
It was after his release from the Olongapo jail that he led a group engaged in a series of car thefts and robbery.