According to Perú This Week, quick thinking and efficient police work saved Italian citizen Marco Dalla Vecchia an estimated US$15,000 on Tuesday (November 5), when he was nearly robbed by a pair of muggers in the San Jeronimo district of Cusco.
According to Andina news agency, Dalla Vecchia, Vecchia had exited a bank carrying the large sum of dollars which he intended to exchange for soles, as he was a tourism operator in the Cusco area.
Andina reported that upon seeing Vecchia leave the bank with a large parcel, the two would-be criminals, Jesús Ricardo Merma Apaza and Omar Condori Contreras, began following Dalla Vecchia in a vehicle.
Fortunately, Dalla Vecchia noticed that he was being followed and walked in the direction of the headquarters of Cusco’s special tourist police force (POLTUR) at which point asked the tourist police for assistance and protection, which ultimately resulted in the criminals being taken into custody.
COMMENT: Anyone handling a large sum of money (i.e., any amount over US$1,000) should consider following:
1. Keep in mind that criminals routinely observe foot traffic in and out of banks and financial institutions in the hope of monitoring those who make large withdrawals;
2. Even US$1,000 or more in soles or dollars is "big" money in Perú;
3. If transporting any amount of money over US$1,000 NEVER, EVER do so on foot. Always arrange for a trusted, vetted driver to take you to your destination, however short the distance;
4. Also keep in mind that many armed security services in developing countries cannot be trusted, which is why those transporting large amounts of cash should plan their departure from banks with considerable prudence; and
5. Another option is for foreigners to ask their embassy or consulate for the names of reputable security services who can provide armed protection of large sums of cash, but only after being thoroughly vetted for dependability and trustworthiness.
Cusco, often spelled Cuzco, is a city in southeastern Perú, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cusco Region as well as the Cuzco Province. In 2007, the city had a population of 358,935.
Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca site located 2,430 meters (7,970 feet) above sea level. It is located in the Cusco Region, Urubamba Province, Machupicchu District in Perú.
The site is situated on a mountain ridge above the Sacred Valley which is 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Cusco and through which the Urubamba River flows. Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). Often referred to as the "Lost City of the Incas," it is perhaps the most familiar icon of Inca civilization.