A CROSS-DRESSING thief was caught just outside the campus last month, just days after the opening of classes was marred by a similar incident.

Legal Management junior Giselle Rivera nearly lost her wallet and cellphone to Brian Duque, 20, outside the Dapitan gate of the University last June 25.

Rivera, who was then at Antonio Street beside C&E Bookshop, said she felt a slight movement in her shoulder bag, prompting her to check it, only to find out that her cellphone and wallet were missing.

“I saw him (Duque) dressed in woman’s clothing, covering his face, and pretending to fold an umbrella beside a bookstore,” Rivera said in the police report.

After hearing Rivera shout for help, Duque immediately handed the phone back to her, and tried to ride a jeepney in an attempt to escape.

With the help of street vendors who chased Duque, the suspect was caught and surrendered to security guard Reynaldo Aguila, who then took Duque and Rivera to the UST security office.

At first, Duque denied the accusation, explaining that he only saw Rivera’s purse placed near the bookstore’s glass window and decided to give it back to her.

But after a few minutes of interrogation in the security office, he admitted that he had tried to steal Rivera’s purse because “he needed to.”

Rivera decided to press charges against Duque at the Manila Police District Precinct 4 in Balic-balic, Sampaloc, where the thief was jailed for four days before posting bail worth P12,000 on June 30.

Duque, a resident of 1850 G. Tuazon Domingo St., Sampaloc Manila, was previously detained for urinating in public last June 9.

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Police records showed he had previously been caught on closed circuit television camera stealing the wallet of another UST student inside Joli’s Merchandise on P. Noval Street.

Prior to Rivera’s case, a Thomasian student nearly lost an mp3 player worth P25,000 to a thief caught inside the campus last June 17.

Joseph Badinas, acting deputy commander of the security office, said that with the recurring cases of petty crimes outside campus walls, security officials have started to coordinate with local authorities to help them in “safeguarding the students outside the University grounds.”

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