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Posted (edited)

I was robbed today in my home of all the money in my wallet while both I and my housekeeper were here. It's a long story, and a little frightening because the maleante was a big man, but I'm writing this to alert everyone and to pass along a few tips. My gate was open, and my front door was unlocked. The gate often is open during the day, but no more. I keep the front door locked, but my housekeeper had just come inside after sweeping the front porch and didn't lock the door behind her. I confess that I'm sometimes guilty of this too. Thankfully, no one was hurt; and I still have my cedula and credit cards.

My housekeeper called the police, and two armed officers in camouflage arrived in less than ten minutes. They were very professional and very polite and took all the necessary information. They stuck around awhile because the two of us were pretty shaken and ultimately gave us a long but gentle lecture about the importance of keeping all doors and all gates locked at all times. They reminded us how lucky we were not to have been hurt once the robber realized he was not alone. They told me I could file a denuncia. I said, "Por que?" and one replied "Exactamente." I appreciated the candor. We all agreed that it was a lesson learned. They patrolled the neighborhood and came back to let me know that they would be keeping an eye on things for a while. This kind of law enforcement response was reassuring.

Edited by Bonnie
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Oh my gosh, Bonnie. I am so sorry!

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Bill and I are sorry as well.   Habits become lax when report of home robberies become less frequent.    Alarms, & gates need to be secured 100% of the time and we thank you for that heads-up.    What time of day did this happen?  Glad to hear the officers were fast to arrive.

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37 minutes ago, Brundageba said:

Bill and I are sorry as well.   Habits become lax when report of home robberies become less frequent.    Alarms, & gates need to be secured 100% of the time and we thank you for that heads-up.    What time of day did this happen?  Glad to hear the officers were fast to arrive.

It happened shortly before noon.

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Posted (edited)

This sounds familiar to me.  I will start with the most recent occurrence which happened just a couple of days ago and was told to me by my neighbor who works at  hostel in your neighborhood, Bonnie.  A man came to the gate or door of one of the residents and asked her for a piece of paper and pencil so he could write a note to leave for another resident who was not there. She complied and then he asked if he might use the bathroom, and being a nice person, she said yes.  He came in and stole all her money.  Go back 3 years....I live in a small community of 3 houses.  A man came to the gate of one of the houses and told the resident that he wanted to talk to the man who lived in the house next to him.  Being a nice person, he let him in and brought him to me.  The man suddenly seemed awkward and his story got fuzzy.  Unbeknownst to him my very big Panamanian friend was sitting in my living room.  I went in and asked him to see what this fellow was about.  When he emerged from the door, the intruder went pale and excused himself and left.  My thinking was somewhat log jammed with this situation but when I cleared my head I remembered...go back a lot of years when I first came to Boquete.  A man asked if he could use my bathroom.  Being a nice person, I let him in.  It cost me all my cash and my Nikon camera.  I'd be real surprised if it isn't the same person working the same MO.  Your door was open so he did not have to bother with the niceties.  If it is not the same person, then there is just another one on the loose.

Edited by Evelyn Kendall

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Posted (edited)

Coincidentally, someone ,else I know had a laptop stolen yesterday afternoon in Alto Dorado area. The person had gone out and left the patio door open. Lots of other stuff to take was ignored.

Edited by Keith Woolford

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5 minutes ago, Evelyn Kendall said:
51 minutes ago, Bonnie said:

It happened shortly before noon.

A year ago I had a guy ask to use my bathroom. He looked to be about 45 and dressed OK, and friendly appearing, It was around midday.

he was acting like he really had to go. I was next to my dog on my front porch at the time. Told him sorry the dog is going to have a problem. Later I thought if he had to go there were plenty of private places nearby to go, and people dressed like that walking in my area with no vehicle nearby I just don't see. Still spooks me to this day.

 

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So sorry to hear this, Bonnie. First, I am so glad that you weren't hurt, and second, that he only took your cash. It could have been so much worse.

You may not have been a random victim. If he waited until he knew the door was unlocked, and he never brandished a weapon, it suggests you were targeted. He knew what to expect in terms of resistance. I think the criminal is someone who either lives in Palo Alto or is very familiar with it. 

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I don’t know how he could have known the door was unlocked. And if he saw my housekeeper sweeping the porch and then going inside, he would have known I was not alone. Palo Alto is a relatively small community, and my housekeeper has lived here her entire life. It seems she would have known him if he were from around here. But who knows?

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Well, that pretty much discounts my theory.  But something still seems strange about this. Random non-indigenous strangers simply don't walk in front of your house.  A brave tourist or two may hike by on the way to Tree Trek, but even that is rare. 

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I agree. I don’t know what to make of it.

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Yep. It’ll be coming down.

A friend sent me these photos of a man engaged in very similar activity for the past three years in (at least) Volcancito and Jaramillo, asking to come in and use the bathroom. I think it’s him even though the pics are far from crystal clear.

Problem.pdf?_nc_cat=0&oh=0c51f4f0c6c2026

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Posted (edited)

Sorry. I can't seem to get the pics to transfer from Messenger.

Problem.jpg

Edited by Moderator_02
photo added per member's request

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Posted (edited)

Here are better pictures - these were posted on .Ning in June 2017 - This person has been to our home (In Volcancito) on 3 different occasions in 3 years, I've heard from other in Jaramillo that the same man has been there too.... take note:

 

Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 5.22.58 PM.png

Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 5.23.04 PM.png

Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 5.23.11 PM.png

Edited by Andrea
attached photos

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Not unlike the guy I saw, although not dressed as well. Maybe the same guy, maybe not. A straight on facial aspect would make it clearer for me. Looks like he likes his brewskis!

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2 hours ago, Andrea said:

Here are better pictures - these were posted on .Ning in June 2017 - This person has been to our home (In Volcancito) on 3 different occasions in 3 years, I've heard from other in Jaramillo that the same man has been there too.

It looks like this guy has struck all over town.

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This activity for three years and “has struck all over town”

Has this guy ever been caught and prosecuted?

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At the request of the police, I filed a denuncia yesterday so that the police can pick him up if they see him. His photo is on each policeman's phone.

Initially, I had decided against filing because of past experience. About three years ago, as a warden, I went with a newcomer/neighbor to file a denuncia when his and his wife's house was burglarized. The process was difficult and time-consuming. They insisted on one of their official translators, who had to be brought in from David the next day, thus requiring a return trip. The translator failed to show up, requiring a third trip. Then the neighbor's interview was unnecessarily prolonged, I thought, and the elderly interviewer slow to record what was being said. After well over an hour, and even though this was our third trip and they had had plenty of time to advise us of what they required, we were told the neighbor had to return with his wife (whose testimony, of course, was exactly the same as his). All in all, it was an extremely frustrating experience, and there was zero follow up.

Thursday was a totally different matter. I was pleasantly greeted, and the office already was familiar with the case. A policeman who was there pulled up the maleante's photo on his phone. I told them I would like to return the next day with my housekeeper, at the request of the police, and would need a translator. They said they could get one in from David or I could bring my on. I brought a bilingual Panamanian friend and my house keeper yesterday morning. A pleasant young man who typed very fast took a thorough accounting of what had happened, printed out the report, and we were done in about half an hour. He explained that under the new law the denuncia would have to be filed with the appropriate corregidora because the amount taken was less than $1000, but he was happy to do the report for us. On the way home we dropped the report off with the corregidora and were on our way. Total time: about an hour. Experience: professional but pleasant.

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I'm glad to hear this is more professional in Boquete...now only if it were so in Volcan!

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