It was such a sad day last Saturday. As we were about to start the day, we realized we have been victims of theft.
Yesterday was the last day of our high school entrance review for some of our students. Everyone was extra busy because parents were claiming their children’s Assessment Reports. Parents and students were coming in and out the gate we left wide open so vehicles could park inside (and not earn the ire of our neighbors whose driveways sometimes get blocked by the vehicles of our students).
Randy’s office was on the second floor of our building, just after the corridor leading to the stairs, which was also beside out students’ classrooms. Randy said that at 6:30 a.m. he was still using his laptop in his office. From 7 to 7:20, he had a meeting with our helpers, and everyone saw his laptop was on his table. After their meeting he went to the third floor to drink coffee. Around this time, our helper Peter saw a dark-skinned man seated on the bench by the corridor (which was very near Randy’s office). Thinking the man was waiting for his child/ward from the nearby classroom, Peter did not mind him and turned the air conditioning units of the three classrooms. When Peter passed by the corridor again the man was no longer there.
At 7:30, Randy approached me–I was on the first floor setting up the projector and my laptop because the kids were going to watch a film. He asked me whether I got his laptop (for I was looking for one earlier; I did not want to use my own). I told him I did not, and then he said, “Sh*t, nanakaw ang laptop ko!” At first, I thought he was joking and I did not mind him. But when I went out of the room and all our staff was flustered, it was like a brick hit me. It was his freakin’ MacBook Pro–full of our files and photos! Randy and Raviv spend an awful lot of time together looking at pictures there. It was one of their bonding gadgets! Buti pang itong 7-year old Toshiba laptop ko na lang ang nanakaw kesa ‘yun!
Since it was the last day of classes, Randy was immobile. He had to continue teaching. If not, it would be like he’s the one robbing our students their parents’ hard-earned money. Good thing I had no classes. [I remember something: seven years ago, also on the last day of Brain Train high school entrance review classes, Randy’s papa was suspected to have died. Good thing I did not have classes then, too. He sent me to his papa’s house to check, and sadly, Papa was already dead. But Randy forced himself to finish his class despite his grief. Yes, that’s how serious we are in our craft.]
While I was thinking of how to use the social media to help recover the laptop, Mama (Randy’s mother) had been prudent to call the police. I don’t know why it never entered my mind to call the police! Anyway when the police were interviewing us, our neighbor Mang Robert went to our place (he heard about the unfortunate incident). Mang Robert claimed he saw a suspicious-looking man that matched the description of the man Peter saw. The man looked suspicious as he was walking very quickly and something was tucked in his underarms. Funny–Peter said that when he saw the man, the man did not have anything. Now we are pretty certain it was the man who stole Randy’s laptop.
About half an hour later, the police returned to get Peter to identify a suspect in a not-so-near squatter’s (?) area that was beside a railroad. I came with Peter. Upon our arrival in the area, we were told that the man we were looking for has just left. But his mother showed us his photo. Peter said it was not the man he saw. I had to muster all the courage I had, and bravely told the people around us we won’t stop until we recover the laptop. I also sought for their help, and promised to reward whoever could help recover the laptop.
Afterwards, we went to the police station to file a blotter. With us was a saleslady who was a victim of budul-budol.
In fairness, the Los Banos police were not what I had in mind. You see, the image of police officers in my mind was tainted–corrupt, lazy, greedy, etc. But the police in the Los Banos station were very courteous, accommodating, and were really following protocols.
There was something they told me that piqued my attention: the police said that most robberies in our area were courtesy of a brood of brothers who were, get this–minors! About five of these brothers were already excellent thieves–the youngest of them was only eight years old! The sad thing was that the police could not do anything about them because they were minors. These brothers have been in police custody countless times. But they had to be turned over to the DSWD–bawal ikulong. Which is fine with me, except that after a day or two at the DSWD these kids are returned to their parents, ready to commit another theft or robbery. And this has become a vicious cycle–nakaw-huli-DSWD-parents. The police even told me that talking to these kids makes their blood boil: the kids would tell one another, “‘Wag ka lang magsalita. Hindi tayo maikukulong.” I told the police that these minors should never have been returned to their parents, as it seems the parents cannot take care of the band of burglar brothers. With a note of disappointment in their voice, the police said that Los Banos does not have a facility to hold and rehabilitate juvenile delinquents! My golly! Our less rich neighbor municipalities have them, but we do not have one! Anu ba ‘yan!!! I think that a facility to rehabilitate juvenile delinquents is a MUST given that 1) there really are parents incapable of raising their children well; and 2) while we do not want the kids to be with other adult hardened criminals, we do not want them to think they could easily get away with crimes just because they’re underage.
Anyway, back to Randy’s stolen Macbook Pro. Today a student (who was also our neighbor) told me that the man whom we suspect stole Randy’s laptop was probably the same man who tried to break into their house about two years ago. So after teaching, I spent the rest of the afternoon going to the police station, going to a barangay hall, and going back to the squatter’s (?) area beside the riles.
This is so tiring. But we really need the laptop back, and we need to put a stop to this! If this man gets away scot-free and tens of thousands richer, what’s to stop him from committing the crime again and again and again? And to encourage others to do the same?
Here are more details about the suspected thief (the cartographer was not available yesterday and today; will post sketch as soon as we get a sketch):
- about 30-40 years old
- just a bit on the heavy side
- has a round face
- has short, curly hair
And here are more details about Randy’s stolen laptop:
- model: MacBook Pro
- 15-inch LED-backlit widescreen notebook
- Serial Number: CO2FJBNUDF8V
So I urge you people…please help. At least help share this blog post. And if you may, kindly “order” from small-time/unauthorized laptop vendors and pawnshops whether they have a Macbook Pro for sale. The police send it might end up in Alabang or Cavite. So kahit tagamalayo kayo please ipagtanong n’yo naman. It might be Randy’s. We will most definitely be very grateful to whoever would help us get this laptop. And we will also give a reward.
Thanks in advance. Let’s all be extra careful.
Tell me what you think!
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