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Gun-toting priest captures would-be thieves

Originally ran here as:
"Gun-toting priest gets snatchers"
Posted: 7:57 PM (Manila Time) | July 12, 2001
By Alcuin Papa, Inquirer News Service

PHILIPPINES -- A pistol-packing Parañaque parish priest yesterday showed a father and son team of cell phone snatchers the wrath of a man of God.

Fr. Rico Nobleza, 32, of the Sta. Rita Parish in Parañaque City, was on board a jeepney going to Baclaran when two men also boarded the jeepney at around 5 a.m. yesterday.

One of the men, later identified as Manuel Samson, 49, of 119 F. Progreso St., Parañaque, sat beside the priest in the front seats. Samson’s son, Christian, 19, sat in the back.

Police learned that Manuel poked a knife at Nobleza and asked for his cell phone.

"I told him, 'Wait a minute, child, I shall get it from my waist,'" Nobleza told police.

However, instead of getting his cell phone, the priest pulled out a .45 caliber pistol and told the Samsons to surrender.

Seeing the pistol, father and son jumped out of the jeepney and ran.

But Nobleza, together with the other male passengers, chased the Samsons and eventually cornered them. The passengers brought them to the nearest police station.

At the police station, Manuel and Christian begged the priest not to file charges against them.

The priest refused and said only God could forgive them for what they had done.

"They should rot in jail for the things they have done," the priest boomed.

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