Friday, July 12, 2013

Costa Rica: Update--US Travel Agent, 73, Robbed, Shot in Puntarenas, Resistance Discouraged

According to and as a follow-up to my posting of July 10, Gary Lee, 73, a Yuma, AZ-based travel agent who owned a vacation home in Costa Rica's Pacific coastal town of Puntarenas, has told Yuma-based KYMA News 11 that the home invasion that resulted in his being robbed and shot on June 22, was caused by a caretaker who had quit earlier the same day.

COMMENT: As I said in my earlier posting,  Mr. Lee's home invasion was caused not by corrupt local police as he alleges, but on the fact that the assailants encountered no central station alarm, an indoor dog (who might have alerted him to an approaching threat), armed guard, well-secured exterior doors and windows, safe-room, etc., all of which are "must-haves" for expats living in Costa Rica today which is confronting a crime crisis.

The second mistake Mr. Lee made was resisting the home invaders. As I have said so often in the past, when confronted by greater numbers, and you are without lethal force (i.e., a firearm and the skills to proficiently use it),  full compliance with the assailants is strongly recommended.

As noted in my earlier posting, Lee was awoken in his upstairs bedroom by the gunmen, which clarifies he had little to no security deterrents in place in his home.

Lee told his story to KYMA News 11, a local television station in Yuma. Lee said he was sound asleep when the intruders burst into his upstairs bedroom, pistol whipped him, and ultimately shot him in the leg when he resisted.

Although Mr. Lee alleges that a caretaker who had quit prior to the home invasion was behind the attack, media reports reveal no evidence to support his claim. It is unknown if the American had requested that local police interview the caretaker or if he had the caretaker investigated before he hired him.

On the other hand, after being quoted in local media as to how incompetent and corrupt local police are, it is unlikely that Mr. Lee can count on any help whatsoever from Costa Rican police.

It is probably wise that Lee never plans to return to Costa Rica, yet it is sad that he may sour other travelers on the destination who are inclined to exercise a strong sense of personal security awareness.