THE MOTHER of an Accountancy freshman lost her necklace to snatchers last June 13 in what security authorities said was part of the spate of petty crimes usually attending the back-to-school rush in the University Belt.

The UST Security Safety and Services identified the victim as Lolita Yang. UST guards caught suspect Roberto Balaguer, 28, of 340 Sandiko St., Tondo.

Yang and her daughter, a freshman at the College of Accountancy, were reportedly waiting for a jeep at the UST waiting shed near the España overpass when Balaguer and another man walked toward them and snatched the victim’s necklace.

Yang’s screams alerted Ferdinand Soriano, a security guard stationed at the España gate, who rushed to rescue the victim and collar Balaguer. The other suspect ran off with the necklace, reportedly worth more than P1, 000, and is at large.

Balaguer was subsequently turned over to the Manila Police District Station 4 for investigation and is now facing theft charges.

In an interview with the Varsitarian, Clemente Dingayan, detachment commander of the UST security office, urged students to be more vigilant. He explained hold-up and robbery and theft incidents are high in the first months of the school year.

He identified that the hotbeds of petty crime around the campus as P.Y Margal and Dos Castillas Streets, where most student dormitories are reportedly found.

“The victims are usually freshmen because of their unfamiliarity with their new surroundings,” Dinagayan said.

Dingayan said criminals would usually invent a yarn that the freshmen had made their siblings cry.

They would then point the student the place where their supposed crying sibling is waiting.

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“Of course, the student, wanting to prove his innocence, would follow the instructions of the suspects and leave all his belongings to the group,” Dingayan said. “In the end, it would be too late for the student to realize his mistake.”

The UST security called on UST students to report to them suspicious-looking persons on campus.

Dingayan said UST is now part of the Community Oriented Information Network, an organization composed of barangay captains and shop owners around Sampaloc who meet twice a month to exchange public safety information.


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