MANILA, Philippines – The Development Bank of the Philippines in Muntinlupa City was allegedly broken into over the long weekend by thieves, who had apparently gained entry by sawing off the window grills of the bank’s toilet then disabled the security alarm.
Chief Supt Leonardo Espina, head of the National Capital Regional Police Office, said the burglary, which could have happened between Oct. 26 and Oct 29, was discovered only on Monday at around 8 a.m.
Espina said the thieves were believed to members of the so-called “Acetylene Gang.”
The bank employees also found the vault empty with a gaping hole, measuring 2 feet in diameter.
Senior Supt. Conrad Capa, officer in charge of the Muntinlupa police, said investigators still had no clue as to how many persons were involved in the break-in because the thieves had covered the closed circuit television cameras with paper and removed their CDs where footages are stored.
The thieves had also cut off the cables connected to the bank’s alarm so they could slip out of the premises undetected by the security guards on duty.
Authorities have yet to determine the amount of money stolen from the DBP.
The head of the National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) has ordered an investigation into a burglary that took place over the weekend at the Muntinlupa branch of the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to determine whether or not it was an inside job.
According to reports, the robbers broke into the government bank on the National Highway by sawing off the steel grills of a window in a toilet.
Once inside, they covered the closed circuit television cameras inside the establishment and removed the discs on which the footage taken by the CCTVs were stored, according to Muntinlupa police officer-in-charge Senior Superintendent Conrad Capa.
Later on, they emptied the bank vault after cutting a hole measuring two feet in diameter using acetylene torches. Bank officials, however, have yet to determine the amount of money stolen.
Finally, the burglars cut off the wires connected to the bank alarm so that they could slip out of the premises undetected by the two security guards on duty.
Authorities believe the theft may have happened between October 26, which was a holiday, and before 8 a.m. on Monday, the time it was discovered.
“This is [a bank] with an elaborate security plan. Those who did this could be well informed. But the question is, how do you get well informed?” NCRPO director Chief Supt. Leonardo Espina said.
He added that it was highly suspicious that the thieves knew the following facts: How many CCTVs there were within the bank’s premises, where these were positioned and where the security alarm could be found.
“This should be investigated by SOCO [Scene of the Crime Operatives],” Espina said.
In a report submitted to Espina Monday afternoon, Capa said all the clues they had gathered pointed to the possibility of the burglary being an inside job.
According to him, it seemed that the sawing of the steel window grills was done by someone inside the toilet, not by a person who was standing outside the bank.
“The marks made by the cutter can only be done from the inside,” he explained in an interview.
Capa added that the thieves even managed to grab a bite during the heist as shown by the traces of leftover food found inside the bank.
“Clearly, this was an inside job,” he said. The cell phones of the two bank guards on duty at the time of the burglary and the bank accountant have been taken by the police for “technical evaluation.”