SAVING a seat in restaurants inside the University using bags and other personal belongings may now be risky.

Barely a month after a similar incident on campus, four Thomasian freshmen fell victims to two separate petty thefts inside food chains at the multi-deck carpark, after they left their bags on their seats to order food.

According to a report by the security office, Orlando Balisbis, 21, a resident of 2449 Tramo Street, Pasay City, was caught carrying two cellphones stolen from Commerce freshmen Dessa Estacio and Marielle Lanireen Belardo last July 15 at the McDonald’s outlet.

Two unidentified accomplices escaped with another cellphone that belonged to Monique Cano, also a first-year Commerce student.

The three students left their bags to reserve their seats, only to find their cellphones gone when they got back.

When the victims reported the incident to the security guard of the establishment, an inspection was conducted, paving the way for the arrest of Balisbis by civilian guards of the UST security office and the Spartan security agency stationed at the carpark.

Under police interrogation, Balisbis said he and his accomplices had planned to steal valuable items from carpark restaurant patrons.

“We have been circling the carpark for days,” Balisbis said in Filipino. “I still cannot believe they (accomplices) left me.”

Balisbis’ group was also tagged in a similar incident last July 13 when a freshman Travel Management student lost her laptop while ordering food at Ate Eva’s Grill.

“Since my bag contained my laptop, we decided to cover it so that it would not be obvious. But before we left the food place, my bag felt lighter than before and that was when I discovered that my laptop was stolen,” said Princess Roviel Atienza, 16.

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The belongings of Atienza and Cano have yet to be retrieved by authorities.

The opening of classes last June 15 was marred by a theft incident when a sophomore B.S. Chemistry student nearly lost her mp3 player worth P25,000.

Joseph Badinas, acting detachment commander of the security office, said the office was coordinating with the local authorities to protect the Thomasian community from “harmful elements of society.”

“We will try to maintain peace in and outside the campus with the help of other offices like the Manila Police District,” Badinas said in Filipino.

Balisbis is detained at the Manila Police District Precinct 4 in Balic-balic, Sampaloc, and will be transferred to the Manila City Jail upon orders of the court.

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