5 Book Thieves Targeting Metro Manila Bookstores Have Been Arrested

The stolen books are sold online or in shops on Recto Avenue in Manila for half the price.
by F. Valencia
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"Five alleged members of a syndicate specializing in shoplifting and fencing books from bookstores all over Metro Manila were arrested in Quezon City earlier this week," reports Romina Cabrera in the Philippine Star.

The report notes that police found "at least 500 books allegedly stolen from National Bookstore and other bookshops" in the possession of the following suspects: Aziel Patawaran, alias Ruffy Villanca, 31; Joseph Arce, 54; Ana Dulay, 28; Rose Marie Martinez, 28; and Mila de Aroz, 54.

Patawaran, Martinez, and Dulay were arrested last November 30 after guards caught them taking books from National Bookstore at Fisher Mall. The three had loaded the books in their getaway vehicle, where Arce was waiting.

Patawaran, Martinez, Dulay, and Arce later told the police that they took the stolen books to be sold by de Aroz at her stall on C.M. Recto Avenue in Manila. It turns out that the stolen books are either sold there or online for half the price.

When they went to de Aroz's stall, the police confiscated more than 200 stolen books worth P85,000. Police also seized a van loaded with books that have supposedly been taken from other bookshops in Metro Manila. 

The report states that "de Aroz was charged with violation of Presidential Decree 16129, the anti-fencing law, while the four other suspects were charged with shoplifting."

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