Boracay robbery suspect returns stolen money, apologizes for crime

Boy Ryan B. Zabal

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Boracay robbery suspect returns stolen money, apologizes for crime
A waiter in Romblon returns P2.7 million in cash, a cash metal box, a bank passbook, and a checkbook to the person he stole these from

AKLAN, Philippines – A robbery suspect in Boracay Island returned the money he had taken from a money changer shop  owned by a Korean national, even though he would still likely serve time for his crime.

Police didn’t know the suspect’s identity until Leandro Toledo Sarito decided to give back the money on Friday morning, August 9, at around 2 am.

The only lead the cops had in the crime was the video the CCTV camera captured – a suspect seen leaving the money changer shop, carrying the backpack on August 7, Wednesday, at around 1 pm. The suspect’s face was not clearly seen in the video and his head was covered by a hood.

Sarito, a waiter and native of Canduyong, Odiongan, Romblon, said he was bothered by a guilty conscience when he opened the backpack in his house in Sitio Hagdan in Barangay Yapak. To his surprise, inside the stolen backpack were P2.7 million in cash, a cash metal box, a bank passbook, and a checkbook.

On Thursday evening, the 24-year-old suspect made contact with Nico Caagbay, a teller at Golden Moon Foreign Exchange Services Money Changer located in Sitio Manggayad in Boracay Island, saying that he would return the money.

According to Sarito, he surrendered to Malay municipal police station in Balabag with Caagbay and turned in the money.

Investigation showed Caagbay returned from the comfort room only to find out that the backpack carrying a substantial amount and which he left inside the money changer’s office was missing. He reported the incident to authorities.

In an exclusive report of Radyo Todo Aklan 88.5 FM, the suspect apologized for committing the crime against his former employer, who hired him as a money changer cashier from February until May this year.

“Three days ago, naisip ko na gawin ito dahil kailangan ko ng pera para makauwi sa Romblon at makabakasyon sa amin, mga P5,000 lang sana ang balak kong kukunin,” Sarito said in his dialect. (Three days ago, I thought of doing this so I could go home to Romblon and take a break there, I only intended to take P5,000.)

“Pagdating ko doon sa money changer, walang tao, hindi ko alam kung nasaan si Nico. Pinasok ko ang pinto ng money changer gamit ang ID card. Nakita ko ang backpack at kaagad kinuha. Hindi ko alam maraming pera sa loob ng backpack.” 

(When I got to the money changer, there was no one there, I didn’t know where Nico was. I entered the money changer’s room using my ID card. I saw the backpack and took it right away. I didn’t know there was a lot of money inside the backpack.)

After the robbery, Sarito said he immediately left the money changer on foot and went home.

“Hindi ako makatulog at nagulat dahil sa laki ng pera sa backpack. Tinago ko ang backpack sa amin, hindi ko rin binilang ang pera,” he added. (I couldn’t sleep because I was surprised at the large amount of money inside the backpack. I hid the backpack at our place, I didn’t count the money.)

Although about P2,399,000 of the stolen money has been recovered, Sarito said the money changer owner reportedly forgave him and didn’t want to press charges.

As of this posting, Sarito was detained at Boracay police lock-up cell facility. –

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