MANILA, Philippines – It looked like the perfect crime.
Ten armed men barged into an establishment in Makati City shortly after midnight Wednesday and disarmed the guards on duty without firing a single shot.
The robbers later made a clean getaway with a bag full of phones and cameras.
There was just one catch: Dummy cellular phones and digital cameras made up the bigger portion of their loot.
“Parang na-’Wow Mali’ sila,” Supt. Manuel Santos Jr., chief of the Makati police investigation division, said with a laugh, alluding to a TV show that plays pranks on people.
The robbery occurred at 12:15 a.m. Wednesday inside the showroom of Fone Tech/Wellcom Inc. at the JMBC Building on Zansibar corner Rockefeller Streets in Barangay Isidro.
The robbers, who were wearing face masks, bullet-proof vests and Kevlar helmets, barged into the building and disarmed the three security guards on duty, Santos added.
Then they led the guards, identified as Eduardo Uri, Eddie Ebon and Walter Silacan, along with two stay-in employees, Climaco Omega and Abner Talde, to the toilet where they were locked up.
When roving barangay watchmen dropped by the shop by chance, the robbers locked them up with the other store employees inside the toilet.
The armed men then proceeded to empty the glass cases of their merchandise, loading several cell phones, digital cameras and spare computer parts into a bag.
“It turned out that almost all of the gadgets were dummies or display gadgets,” Santos said.
But if it was any consolation to the robbers, they were able to escape with a digital camera and a few other valuables worth P30,000 taken from the shop’s guards and employees, Santos added.
The robbers fled on board a maroon van, said the police official. A license plate, believed to have been discarded by the suspects, was found at the scene.
Santos said they would look for clues to the robbers’ identities by reviewing the footage taken by surveillance cameras installed in the building.