This Tico Times story illustrates the only reason I would leave Costa Rica. Petty theft is rampant here and there is no consequence. None. As in zero. Unless spending one night in the slammer is considered a consequence. It’s clearly not a deterrent.
I’m not afraid of petty theft – we had plenty of that in Key West. Plenty of that everywhere. But if it got violent, if armed robbery escalated here – there is some but even then it’s rarely violent – but if it escalated and there were still no consequence, I couldn’t live with that. All emphasis mine.
Robbery Victims Frustrated by Police’s Actions
By Blake Schmidt, Tico Times Staff
An English teacher and a yoga instructor from the United States yesterday said they are frustrated with the way Costa Rican authorities handled the robbery of their car Saturday while they were headed for an afternoon dip in the ocean at Playa Hermosa [where I am right now], on the central Pacific coast.
Though the two reclaimed only some of their belongings and ended up missing about $400 cash, the Public Security Ministry reported Sunday that Tourism Police recovered $10,300 belonging to Grace. [Not true. Why would the Tourism Police report they’d recovered $10,300 when that is not true? To make themselves look more effective?]
U.S. citizen Phil Hemion — a teacher and resident of Heredia, north of San José — said he and his friend Melissa Grace, a resident of the central Pacific beach town of Jacó and yoga instructor, looked on helplessly from the beach Saturday while three suspects in a Geo Tracker broke into their car with a screwdriver and took Grace’s bag full of cash, jewelry and other valuable items, as well as some clothing.
Hemion and Grace called the police, who said they had already stopped the car in Jacó because of previous reports that it had been used in suspicious activity.
“There are a number of organized gangs operating throughout the country, and we had identified this as a car previously involved in illicit activity,” said Tourism Police Director Katia Chavarría.
Police searched the car and allowed Hemion and Grace to look through it until they found all the stolen items with the exception of a ring, a cell phone chip and about $400 cash, Grace said, adding that police did not handcuff the suspects and allowed them to rummage around the car while they were searching.
“Police would not search the car again to find the remaining items,” Hemion said. The three suspects – two of them Colombians with refugee status identified by the last names Cortés, 67, and Castaño, 30, and the third a Costa Rican, identified as Cordero, 21 – were detained overnight and released the next day.
Chavarría said she didn’t know who filed the report saying police found $10,300 belonging to Grace, but that it was false.
Chavarría said the case is now in the hands of the Garabito prosecutor’s office.
"Released the next day." That’s like a bad joke.
This is so common here and typically, NOT printed in the Tico Times. When will they catch on to “sting operations” and kick these thieves OUT OF THE COUNTRY.
Yes, some Ticos are involved but the majority of the big crimes are from foreigners (Columbians).
I thought I’d have more freedom here but it’s hard to realize when everything has to stay under lock and key and you’re afraid to park your car at the beach.
EVERYONE knows, “Don’t leave valuables in your car”.
We even have signs posted now.
REMEMBER WHERE YOU ARE.
Those problems exist everywhere…and tend to be mostly ignored.
You failed to mention that then next day when these three
were released they went to the victims and they threatened their lives. This was reported to the police and absolutly nothing was done. It went completely ignored.
The $400 in cash was their rent money… they were not able to pay the landlord before hitting the beach.
You remember too the 3 breakins/rape/and attempted murder on the US woman in Jaco…Nothing done. They didnt even show up before 2 weeks to take detailed information on the attackers. They killed the dogs, sawed the window bars, over the gates and fence. Who’s safe?
Unfortunately with sting operations, once the cops start with those, they don’t know when to stop. I wonder about anyone who lives in Costa Rica leaving valuables in their car while they go to the beach…? I wouldn’t even do that in ‘Lauderdale..
Yes, Saipan, those problems exist everywhere.
Cindy, I hadn’t read that…
Here’s another funny thing about Costa Rican thieves, this summer we had a thief in the neighborhood, he went from place to place taking anything from your yard that you had neglected to chain up. After several weeks I actually caught this shady guy in my backyard after dark and I gave him a nice beating, he was really surprised, he kept addressing me as “Senor!” and kept putting up his hands shocked that I would attack him…So I tied him up and called the police meanwhile my Tico neighbor’s came out to check on all the fuss, none of these people could find it in themselves to be angry with this man and they had all been victims of this crook. More interesting was there explanation that this particular character had been stealing from there family’s for well over 20 years! can you believe?. So the cops arrive and the thief boldly tells them that he hadn’t stolen anything yet.. of course I pointed out that I hadn’t given him time. So they take him away, and let him out the next day but really this is not a country that can afford to incarcerate every thieving Tico in the land I do understand that. Later I see this “Gentleman” walking in the rain barefoot and no shirt, skinny and decide that I wont stop my car to rough him up again seeing as this particular life-style he is living appears to be punishment enough…