BY WAYNE A. BIGSAT
Three suspects were caught in the act of stealing telecommunication company wires in Brgy. Alijis, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. The incident happened at 4 a.m. on June 28, and was reported to Police Station 7 at 4:30 a.m. of the same day.
The suspects were July Cortez y Ripozo, 36, of Prk. San Juan, Brgy. Handumanan; Mark Capilayo y Samolde, 34, of Sampled Zone 12, Prk. San Juan, Brgy. Handumanan; Judy Cabugnason y Molena, 54, of City Heights Subd., Brgy. Taculing; all in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental.
According to reports, the suspects were caught in the act of cutting a copper wire at Purok Pag-asa, Brgy. Alijis.
The items recovered, which served as evidence of the crime, were copper wire, 1 metal saw, a side cutter, and a blue Motoposh 125 motorcycle with a sidecar, which was used as their getaway vehicle.
Police Capt. Elmer Bonilla, Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) Police Station 7 commander, said the suspects said they only did the crime because of poverty.
Bonilla also said that copper wires acquired from the telecommunication companies are sold to junk shops and can fetch prices as high as P300 per kilo, which the suspects could earn a huge amount if sold in sizable quantities. This could be their motive, he added.
Because of this, Bonilla said that “every week junk shop owners are being inspected by the patrol and are being reminded not to purchase stolen scraps such as telco wires, so the suspects would usually sell to junk shop owners outside of the city.”
The stealing of wires of various telecommunications companies has been rampant in Bacolod City.
There are repercussions for the junk shop owners if caught buying these stolen wires they will be subjected to the Anti-fencing law, or P.D. 1612. The crime of fencing punishes the act of buying, receiving, possessing, or selling an item that a person knows, or should know, was derived from the proceeds of robbery or theft.
Bonilla said to address the issue on telco wire thefts, companies should conduct patrols on their wires. If breached, it would alarm, and notify police or officials nearby, adding that barangays should conduct roving patrols in their respective areas.
He also urged the public to report any similar situations to the nearest police stations or to their respective barangays.
Bacolod City formed the “Bantay Kable Task Force” in May 2022 as a solution to address the rampant theft of wires from various telcos.*