Friday, October 3, 2008

Crime in a Third World Country...

Did you know in Guatemala they are killing people for trucks like this? I didn't. This is not the truck that I am going to talk about, but apparently Toyota 4WD pickups are wanted by thieves there. Bad enough to kill for them. The years that are the most prized are usually mid 1980's (1985) to mid 90's. (1995) apparently because they last the longest and the design of the vehicle is before they came out with the rounded style that is prevalent nowadays.
This is actually a truck hubby bought for about a grand, and is sending to Guatemala for a relative. But after today's incident, I know he is going to think twice about it. His brother Mauricio lives and works in the city, as a block mason housebuilder. Last year Jose sent him a truck like this, and Mauricio had it fixed up a bit and installed a good alarm system. Mauricio makes pretty good money, but he needed a truck to transport his crew and materials to the job site.
Today they were in the city building a new house. They had been at work for a few days and saw a strange, white van passing by almost daily. They were cautious, but busy. Today, cousin Raul was outside ripping off siding from an outbuilding when the van slowed, and let out a couple of men. Both were armed. They came towards Raul and tied him up. Shortly thereafter the home owner showed up in his 2007 Lexus to check on the progress. They tied him up. Mauricio, my brother in law, noticing the owner's car outside, but not seeing him come in-had a feeling something was up. He was right. Within minutes the armed men barged in the house and tied up the rest of them. Except for Mauricio. They liked his truck and wanted it NOW. Now he was ready to hand them the keys and be done with it, but there was a problem. On the way out, one of them got a little anxious and tried to open the door. Bad move. The alarm went off. Now this is the type of alarm that locks up the whole vehicle and you CANNOT start it when it goes off, so after trying to get Mauricio to start it while at gunpoint they abandoned that idea and instead told the homeowner to give them the keys to his Lexus. Which he did. And then they took my brother in law with them.
Now I know this is starting to sound like a bad Action movie, but it really did happen to him today, my husband has been on the phone with them nonstop since this morning. I am not liking my phone bill, but it is a pretty serious issue. So they had my brother in law DRIVE them past the big police station (with a gun stuck in his ribs) and once the police saw them, he had to drive at speeds of up to 140mph to escape them. He did end up losing the police, they didn't shoot because they knew a hostage was involved and driving. They instructed him to drive way out into the country, where they opened the door and told him to get out and run into the woods and not turn around-or they would shoot him. So he did as told and was spared. Though I have been told that if they had stolen the truck, my brother in law most likely would have been killed. Hubbys 1st cousin Reginaldo is still missing an uncle and cousin who have never been found, 2 years later-and their truck disappeared along with them.
Now the Lexus owner is apparently some big wig in City government. And he was quite pissed they took his Lexus. So he calls the cops, and files a report. Only thing is besides the report, the cops got a little extra in their pockets. About 20,000 quetzales. More than they make in a year. Well, maybe not a year, but it would take them a long time to get that kind of money nevertheless. (here is the math, it is about 7.5 quetzales for 1 US dollar) The instructions? Bring back the Lexus, in one piece. The thieves? Probably dead by now. Or if not now, they will be soon. Cousin Raul managed to get the license plate of the white van that dropped off the thieves. Last we knew, the police arrived at this man's house to "force" him to give them info. I figure that guy is in deep shit right now. If he is even still alive. See, they will get him to sing like a canary. Then if he won't they will torture it out of him. And even if he does talk, he is dead either way. If the police don't kill him after they have what they want, then the thieves or their gang members/friends/family will do it. My brother in law will be ok, thank God-and the owner has hired guards with machine guns to protect the workers and his property (see, I told ya he has money!) until the work is done. Have any of you ever been to a foreign country and seen stuff like this? Jose and their mom want Mauricio to sell his Toyota and get an old, beat up car like he had before. At least then, his vehicle won't be drawing unnecessary attention from the kind you don't want around. I DO feel bad for the thieves, because being a mother and all, I know they have family that love them and will be upset should something happen to them. Even my brother in law feels badly, because they spared his life but will most likely be losing theirs. Over what? A stupid car. Is your life really worth that?


Anonymous said...

That`s definitely the risk of working in the city. :P Which is why I quit going there a few years back, the buses were just getting assaulted all the time and it wasn`t worth it, particularly since I have kids now!

Your kids are both gorgeous, by the way. Is it just me or is there something about kids with half-Latino blood that just makes them turn out beautiful? :D

Celene said...

Wow! What a story! I know we have bad stuff happen in the US, but nothing like that. Thank God you brother-in -law is safe! Mind blowing. We do have a lot to bitch about here, but we still live in the greatest country in the world and I am grateful to have been born an American. Thanks for entering my jewelry giveaway at Wood n' Whimsy, Good luck and God Bless, Celene

Connie said...

So happy that your brother-in-law is ok!! Feel sorry for the fate of the thieves, but they made that choice.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I noticed this post mentioned on expat mom's blog and had to check it out. My husband was born in GT but has lived in the states since the age of 13 so he's very americanized. He is being deported and at first i was freaking out but now i'm on board and ready to go check it out. Genesis has helped me alot in feeling ok about going. We have a son also. This post does get me worried but i gotta stick with my man! I showed Edwin your post because i worry about him like that so thanks for the info!!