Beware: Cellphone Snatchers in Buses and Jeepneys Use Ketchup To Distract Victims

This serves as a follow-up story to our Dura-Dura Gang public advisory post because this is but a variant of that hideous modus operandi.

Commuters, beware! Aside from using their icky, smelly saliva to distract and confuse their victims, crafty criminals on buses and jeepneys have a new weapon or paraphernalia to help them masterfully execute their cellphone snatching ways:

Ketchup, Cellphone Snatchers
Ketchup! I swear I will never look at this condiment the same way again.

Here's the story courtesy of a Filipino Facebook user whose identity we've decided to hide for her protection:

To all my commuter friends, I urge you to please be careful and more vigilant. Especially those riding the bus.

Today while I was on the way home riding a bus going to Ayala a guy sat beside me, he looked like a decent man nothing sketchy or anything. He tapped me and informed me that I had something on my clothes. When I checked I indeed had ketchup on my dress and tote bag. Having read a familiar modus like this in facebook I just ignored him and did not bother to wipe it off to avoid opening my bag. He even asked me if I had any tissue or handkerchief in which I replied "wala eh. San kaya galing to ketchup pa. Kuya bat may stain ka sa pantalon and sa kamay mo?" After that he did not reply and looked nervous and on edge. Luckily after I said that, my bus stop was near so I went to the front of the bus. When I got off the bus I did an item check and luckily nothing was taken from me.

Guys please if something happens like this just let it be. Don't open your bag because this is a modus of snatchers using either ketchup or spit to get you off guard and then steal your valuables. Better clean it off once you get to a secure and less crowded area rather than have your things stolen.

Echoing what I've shared in our Dura-Dura Gang story: "I regularly ride jeepneys [and buses] myself and if I were to give an advice to fellow commuters, it's that it pays to be very observant and vigilant when riding any form of public transport. As much as possible, avoid using your earphones when you're inside the jeepney so you can be more aware of what's happening around you. Don't talk to strangers who are obviously just trying to get your attention and take care of your belongings; Avoid taking out your smartphone if you don't absolutely need to. Personally, I even alight a bus or jeepney if I get a gut feel that something wrong will happen or if I see a passenger who looks and acts suspicious." Take care, TP Friends!