The Great Greenbelt Rolex Robbery -- An Inside Job?

MAKATI – Here’s irony in spades. One of the most daring heists in recent memory happened in broad daylight. 6 armed men nonchalantly strolled into one of the country’s most prestigious malls, the plan was derailed by two policeman while they were serving as bodyguards of a politician who didn’t even invite them for lunch.

The target was Rolex watches, but instead they got Tudor watches, but they worth 8 million pesos ($164K+). One robber died from the shoot-out but the rest have escaped smoothly, as if there’s no security.

This happened just last Sunday at the Greenbelt 5. Apparently the robbers told the security guards that they’re the Bomb Squad; they turned out to be the Alvin Flores hold-up syndicate.

Taguig City Mayor Freddie Tinga was having lunch while his bodyguards, SPO1 Cesar Tiglao and PO1 Efren Ceniza, waited outside the restaurant. The two cops saw the thieves breaking the display cases and they opened fire.

Where are the security guards? Or more precisely, why did they seem to vanish? Are they in cahoots?

Here’s another irony: The NCRPO (National Capital Regional Police Office) had issued a directive a few weeks back that armed men wearing uniforms – Police, SWAT, Bomb Squad – should not be allowed to enter private establishments unless they arrive in mobile patrols or any official vehicle.

The Rolex robbers came in private cars, and the security guards probably even saluted them.

Last September 29, armed goons wearing SWAT uniforms entered and raided Harrison Plaza in Malate in Manila, just a few meters from a police outpost. They were there for over an hour, but no one checked their identities.

Also last month, another establishment in Pasig City was visited by criminals wearing police uniforms – I wouldn’t be surprise if they’re the real McCoy – and they bound and gagged the security men while they ransacked the place.

The Philippine National Police is full of crooks, sometimes to the point of overflowing, but security guards as insiders is becoming a growing cottage industry, having graduated from two-bit jobs in pawnshops and money changers.

Take the case of the young girl whose cell phone was stolen by – get ready for this – a pregnant criminal in Landmark. The girl and her parents asked for help from a security guard, who ignored them and refused to radio for assistance.

The criminal escaped; she got by with a little help from her accomplice.

Photo courtesy of CIRT