03.12.2012 - 03.12.2012
Uh huh. THAT got your attention. It was only a matter of time . . .
We walked to another beach this afternoon. While Douglas was swimming, I was "resting" on a towel. Sunglasses on, eyes open. I knew it was going to happen a split second prior, but didn't react fast enough. A punk grabbed our camera off the towel at my feet. I jumped up and chased him (jumping over a railing, trying to cut him off), up to the street. I was not fast enough to catch him. i watched him run through traffic, and thought, "damn, lesson learned." But I guess a blonde, barefoot gringo in a swimsuit, running and screaming, "shit for brains, give it back!" makes folks pay attention. A bystander asked me if I was alone, and said that someone was following the thief down the street. A security guard from the Oxxo convenience store saw it all, and radioed the police. Douglas came up to the street, I collected the rest of our stuff from the beach, and joined him.
All of a sudden, the armada arrived. Police car, sirens and lights a-blazing, and 4-6 cops on motorcycles, flew down the street in pursuit. All we have read about Mexican police is that they are indifferent, and shrug these sorts of crimes off. NOT SO. They returned shortly with the perp in the car, and we both ID'd him. Douglas had seen the whole thing happen from the water. The thief didn't have the camera on him, though, so the cops proceeded to beat the crap out of him. They asked us to stand back, once we ID'd him. So, off they all went, in pursuit of the camera. One of the moto cops stayed behind and got our info. The moto cops all wear these Ninja balaclavas--Awesome!
In case there is any doubt, I am here to tell you: don't. mess. with. Mexican. cops.
They had the guy's head under their foot.
Soon, the armada reappeared. One of the cops in the car gave us the thumbs-up, and one of the Ninja moto-cops had the camera proudly slung over his shoulder.
The adventure had just begun. We got a ride in a cop car to a Mazatlan police station, right behind the car with the perp. Lights on, moto escort. Now THERE'S a place to discourage one from committing a crime. They explained the procedure to us, and asked us to wait. We would need to give statements, etc. This was only the beginning. We had no idea of what was to come, but don't get me wrong, we fully appreciated all their efforts. The officers were friendly and polite to us. There was one who spoke English very well, and he kept us informed. Thankfully, we had our puzzle books in our beach backpack: Sudoku for Douglas, and KenKen for me. So, we worked puzzles, glancing up each time a paddy wagon came in and dumped off some more handcuffed dudes.
Next, it was time to go to the DA's office--the one for tourists. THIS was the KICK-ASS car ride! The driver's job was just that--he was hired to DRIVE. Lights and sirens and that squawky horn to get folks the hell out of our way. And, of course, another moto escort.
At the office, it was explained to us that in order to press charges/prosecute this loser, they needed, first of all, statements from us (in Español). Very detailed, legal, and time-consuming. More puzzles. A LOT more puzzles. They have 48 hours total to get all of this in order, and take the perp before the judge. And they need the camera, to present to him to tell him THAT is what he is being charged with stealing. Thankfully, they took our stories in English, translated them, and read them back to us. We signed and thumb printed each page. About 6 hours after the crime, we were free to go. Hopefully, we get the camera back tomorrow afternoon. They have to value (appraise) it. If it is more than 1000 pesos (it is, way more), the sentence is longer.
Oh, I forgot to mention. They found a plastic, though extremely realistic-looking, pistol in the dude. I could assure them he had not threatened me with it. There would have been no chase if that had happened!
Gustavo Lopez. From a different state than here-Mexicali. He made a stupid decision today.
We could not have been more impressed with the support we felt from the folks in the neighborhood, passersby, and of course, the police. Those are some hard-working dudes. Glad they were in our side!
It was too hot on the beach for Sunny and Cricket. They were secure in our air-conditioned hotel room. Though I can assure you, had they been on the beach with us, none of this would have happened,