My daughter was victimized by this Payong Gang pickpocket.
Sometimes life lets things happen when we least expect it and we are caught unprepared. That’s just what happened to my daughter yesterday.
Payong Gang pickpocket
I am almost paranoid when it comes to the safety of my kids. I am sure I annoy them with my incessant reminders to be careful whenever we are out.
“Remember, these bad people do not have other jobs. They wake up in the morning and have nothing else in mind: who to prey on. That’s their job… they are always on the lookout kung sino’ng bibktimahin nila. Kids like you are their targets… blah blah blah blah…”
I go on and on and on. My daughter was getting her medical clearance to play in the varsity.
We were at 7-11 at the ground floor of the Medical Arts Building of St. Luke’s Medical Center-QC at around 4 PM. I had already paid for the sandwiches, and my daughter P was eating her fruit cup beside me on the left. She finished the fruit cup and decided to throw the cup in the trash bin outside the door. I was busy rummaging through my bag looking for my coin purse so I can put in my change from the cashier. P came back inside because we were still waiting for our sandwiches to be heated.
Seconds later, P realized her phone was missing. Thinking she might have just dropped it or nalapag lang somewhere, we searched inside the store. I called the phone and it was still ringing. Unfortunately it was on silent mode.
I asked if the store had a CCTV camera, and the store employees showed me to where the monitor was.
After several minutes of reviewing the security footage, we finally narrowed it down to the woman in pink. She came into the store while P was eating her fruit cup. She did not buy anything. P and I were unaware that she was standing behind us. As P headed for the door to throw the cup, the woman followed her. Watch as she hesitates for a while outside the door, waiting for the right time.
And that’s when the split-second pickpocketing happened – as P re-entered the store the woman seemed to walk along with her but did not enter the store. Instead the woman quickly reached into P’s shallow jacket pocket as P slipped through the door, and expertly fished out the phone. It’s around 0:36 in the video. I had to play the clip several times to see the quick hand. She must have slipped the phone into her umbrella, thus payong gang pickpocket.
I don’t know if she was in cahoots with other ‘customers’ in the store. There was too much movement in the area of the door when the incident happened. That is why I suspect that the woman may not have been alone.
Because we could not get a clear picture of the woman’s face in the 7-11 CCTV camera, I went to the MAB main entrance and saw that there was a CCTV camera there. I asked to review the footages and the guards gladly obliged. One guard accompanied us to the security office. The woman, after leaving 7-11, walks towards the main entrance, looks around a bit, and quickly enters MAB. She walks straight towards the exit at the far end of the corridor, which leads to the “outback” parking. She probably slipped out of the hospital premises to that street where St. Joseph College is. Unfortunately we will never know for sure because the parking area doesn’t have CCTV cameras.
Aside from the obvious fact that P and I had our faults for not being vigilant enough, 7-11 and St. Luke’s were also negligent.
1. As soon as the guards and employees of MAB, and the staff of 7-11 saw the photo of the woman, they said “Siya na naman?!” Apparently, the woman had victimized others already. In fact, the 7-11 store manager showed me a photo of the same woman lifted from CCTV footage of a previous pickpocketing case. So why were they not on the lookout for her? How come she freely walked into the MAB, right past the guards, and out the other end?
2. 7-11 has no guard during daytime, I was told by the manager. They only have one at night.
3. There were also some blind spots in the CCTV monitor of 7-11. The spot where P and I were standing was a perfect blind spot, covered by a countertop shelf from the view of the camera behind the cashier, and covered by shelves from the view of the camera on the front right corner of the store. The there was NO camera on the front left corner of the store to capture the front of the cashier, where we were standing. It was the perfect spot to prey on victims.
I could not complain about how the guards and store staff treated us after the incident. They were so gracious in accommodating us to review the footages. This post is not to bash them. I am just pointing out the loopholes that I hope can be closed so that others will not fall prey again to this woman and her like.
My daughter, after some time, will be okay. She will recover from the trauma and heartache of losing captured memories of almost 4 years of high school. She will be stronger, and I have a feeling she is not going to lose anything precious in the next 10 years, at least.
My husband, after some time, will take another deep breath and buy her a new phone.
As for that woman… After 10 years, I am pretty sure she will still be at it, preying on oblivious victims. Either payong gang pickpocket pa rin sya, or lipat na sa ibang modus, OR sana nakakulong na sya!
Payong gang pickpocket sya – agree?
P.S. Because of this incident, I searched all night on the internet for apps that will track a stolen phone and control it remotely. I found AndroidLost, an awesome phone tracking device. I also discovered that most new android phones have Android Device Manager installed, accessible through your Google Play account. I will post about them later.