NOT AGAIN.

For the second time in a little more than a year, I became the victim of another robbery (hold-up). Again within the vicinity of the squatter’s area along Antipolo St., Manila.

I guess these criminals will never stop until the law catches up with them and they’re incarcerated. But this solution hinges on the arrest of the offenders.

Without depending on the law enforcers to catch these crooks or on instances where these robbers and thieves are caught red-handed, ordinary citizens can help in indirectly abating robbery and theft.

For instance, we should be more wary in buying second hand wares. Stores selling second hand goods thrive in the country given the Filipinos’ penchant for cheap items that are still usable.

At present, stores selling “used” cellular phones abound in the metropolis. Since almost any Juan de la Cruz wants to possess one of these trendy gadgets, those with lesser resources usually settle for these second-hand phones.

I’m not saying that buying second hand articles is bad. But given the times, more often than not, those goods are the subject of a robbery or theft. Unless you are sure that the item did not come from a crime, don’t buy it. In doing so, there could be fewer thieves and robbers since there are less people showing interest in buying the fruits of their evil labor.

When one buys an item derived from the proceeds of a robbery or a theft, one is guilty of fencing which the law punishes with a maximum imprisonment of 12 years depending on the circumstances. The Anti-Fencing Law of 1979 could not be any clearer in providing that regardless of whether the buyer or the person in possession of the article is aware that it was the object of a robbery or a theft, he is still considered a fence.

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Let no man put asunder

At any rate, if a second-hand item is really enticing, I suggest that before you buy it, ask the seller first if the article has proper documents that could show it was not stolen. If it has no proper documentation, do not buy it.

Aside from being wary of second-hand goods, the victims of these crimes should participate in the prosecution of the offenders. In this way, these crooks are taught a hard lesson.

Being content with an amicable settlement or restitution, in some cases, is not helpful. Offenders should be dealt the full force of the law so that they would stop preying on other people’s belongings.

Do yourselves a favor. Next time you come across a tempting second-hand article, think hard about buying it. It could be a stolen item. Also, if the culprit is caught, make sure you participate until a decision is rendered in the case.

Purchasing stolen articles or just amicably settling the wrongdoing, in effect, abets robbery and theft. A passive attitude toward these matters would not help because at the end of the day, you or any of your loved ones could be the next victim.

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