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After six years of terrorizing Metro Manila yoga studios, gyms, spas, and fitness centers, the yoga thief has finally been caught. His name is Takiuddin Mazin Agha, AKA Ali Mazhid or John Malik, a Jordanian national of notably physical build.

Benedict Bernabe witnessed the subduing of the hulking suspect, who has been eluding establishments and the police for 6 years. Pics shown are from his shots of the incident.

MODUS OPERANDI: He pretends to be a client who will walk in and is interested to take yoga classes. The first time he visits, he will ask a lot of questions and ask to be toured in the studio or inspect the studio. He will ask when is class with most guys because he doesn’t want to be the only guy. And he will ask when the studio is full. On his next visit he will pay right away – because he doesn’t intend to finish the class he will attend. He will also show that he has lots of cash in his wallet so that the receptionists won’t suspect.

Before class starts, he will talk to the teacher and tell them its his first time and that he has health issues. Early into the class, he will feign tiredness and tightening in the chest and then will excuse himself from class. This is when he will go to the locker room and start doing his contribution to the advancement of society. He will then immediately leave. When class ends, people will realize that their stuff has been stolen and by then he’ll be a good distance away from the studio.

HOW HE WAS CAUGHT: We received a tipped from another fitness center that this guy has done his blessed work in their premises and his image was captured on CCTV. At this point, I’d like to commend our staff at the Rockwell branch for their quick thinking and bravery. This guy is large and six feet tall and carried a bag of tools that included chisels and ice picks. They put their lives on the line.

As soon as he walked into the studio, our receptionists and maintenance staff (all female), already recognized him. They also noticed that he took a lot longer to change clothes for class. They called me but I was teaching a class in another branch and I told them to call security right away. When he exited the yoga class and entered the male locker room, they knew he was on his modus already. Our receptionists armed themselves with peppermint sprays – yes, not pepper sprays, peppermint sprays, the ones you put on you for aches and pains! Our head receptionist went down (we’re on the third floor) to tell the guard to look for back up because there’s a thief in the studio. The Rockwell guard was incredulous at first. When our receptionist went up, the thief was already on his way out of the studio. Our recep, quickly check the lockers and saw that they’ve been compromised. She instructed our other recep to stop the class and tell students to check their belongings and then ran down the hall to chase the thief. The thief was on the second floor so our recep shouted to the guard on the ground floor saying “MAY NAKUHA NA!”

It is worth mentioning the heroics of our building guard who single-handedly tackled and pin down all 6-feet and 300 lbs. of our dear yoga thief. Manong guard even demonstrated how he did it to me. The thief was pinned down the ground, armed Rockwell patrol guards came to back up our building guard and they called the police.

When everyone got to the police station, they found on him the missing wallet with cash (Php 10,000) and two mobile phones worth Php 40,000 each. More importantly, he had dozens and dozens of IDs, all stolen, and keys to gym lockers, spa lockers, and cars. The police called the people whose IDs were found and they verified that their wallets have been stolen. Some will file complaints.

I’d like to thank our students – who were mostly first-timers! – for being calm, kind, and cooperative with us and the police for the investigation. I apologized to them for the experience. They just wanted to destress and then this! But they took everything in good humour. We even had a police pizza party in the police station. We gave all of them yoga packages which they happily and excitedly accepted. Troopers!

This afternoon, we all met again at the police station for the inquest. He’s been charged with robbery, using fictitious names, and malicious mischief. We all went to the Makati City Hall in one van. The complainants took their oath, the suspect consulted with the Public Attorney Office and we had a hearing with the fiscal, who found probable cause. Hearing will be set sometime in August. He’ll be in jail over the weekend but he will be able to post bail – if he can afford it.

THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART: We want him to stay in jail while his case is being tried in Makati. I know he has had a lot of victims and I ask all of you to step forward and make it more difficult for him to leave jail. It’s a hassle but I ask everyone to do their part in protecting our community and keep our studios safe for everyone! The more cases the better! If you file them in different cities, even better! Let’s give him a tour of our city jails and courts. 🙂

We’re also working on his deportation (he’s Jordanian). This will make sure that he will continue to be detained while he faces his multiple court cases. Our evidence is very strong (he was caught in the act and the police were the ones who retrieved the stolen items from him) and I’m confident of a conviction.

If you want to file a case against him, you can coordinate with me. My number is 09178266169 and you can email me at benedict.bernabe@gmail.com.

The Jordanian guy after being caught.

Restrained after positive ID.

The Jordanian guy taken downtown.

The Jordanian guy being booked.

His happy days are over.

6 years later, karma caught up.

Used for picking lockers.

The dead giveaway that he's up to no good.

Loot and coins.

You heard him. Make sure this Jordanian cleptomaniac will get a taste of Philippine hospitality for criminals before being kicked back to Jordan and banned.

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