The Bubblegum Modus Operandi is Now in Manila

bubblegum modus

Photo from our earlier story


A few months ago, we reported on a modus operandi involving bubblegum that seems to be popular in Cebu. The Bubblegum Gang strikes by sticking bubblegum to your hair and keeping you distracted by trying to removing the gum, which gives them the opportunity to pick your pockets and take your valuables. Now, it looks like the perpetrators are in Manila.

This story was shared  by Ran B. on Facebook last week. According to her:


I got on a bus along EDSA (south bound lane) at around 7:15pm. This was in front of Starmall-Crossing area to be exact. After 5-10mins the bus was already packed. I was seated on the second row, right lane of the bus. I played on my phone and checked Facebook, put my phone in my bag, left it half shut, paid for a ticket and as I was doing so, the guy behind me started to pull my hair!


Luckily, she held her bag tighter as she looked back. The guy continued to pull her hair, saying there was bubblegum stuck to it. According to her, it’s next to impossible because she has a pixie cut. After the guy let go of her hair, this happened:


I noticed the guy standing in front of me had his hand under his backpack trying to hide his arm, which was reaching for my bag. I panicked (in a composed way) and checked for my phone inside my bag and I didn’t feel it in there at first so I (semi-)shouted so at least the the passengers around us would hear. I said, “Kuya, kinuha mo ba cellphone ko?” (“Did you get my cellphone?”). At this point his eyes widened and he was sweating.

After a while I found my phone inside my bag so I shut it and never checked my phone until I got off. I noticed that guy who was reaching for my bag knew the guy who was pulling my hair, so obviously, that was their modus.


The thieves went down along Guadalupe, but were sneaky enough to have stolen something.


One guy got on the bus and the guy who tried to snatch my phone snatched his phone. This happened as they were getting off! The guy was begging them to return his phone but the guy who pulled my hair threatened him saying, “Saksaksakin kita dito eh, ano?” (“I’m going to stab you here!”)


According to Ran, there were four men who looked like they were in their twenties. She also described them as thin and looking like addicts. She admitted to her “extremely good gut feel,” and encouraged everyone to always be vigilant.


Have you had this kind of experience? Share them below!