Q COSTA RICA  – Leaving your car unattended for a few minutes, even in broad daylight, can result in a ruined vacation and nightmare. Such was the experience of Canadian indie rock musician, Rich Aucoin, last week when he had his rental car broken into while parked on a beach.

Photo from Exclaim.ca

“This has been such a fun trip marred by such a gutting experience,” he wrote on Facebook. “I love Costa Rica and encourage people to visit this sweet place, but don’t let your guard down.”

“After watching some baby turtles make their first steps into the ocean and warding off a few vultures from them, I was approached by a woman who looked like she was on a guided tour,” Aucoin tells Exclaim! “She broke away from the tour several minutes after arriving at the beach and said ‘Are you the car with the surfboards? You know you got robbed, right?’ I was running full-tilt to the car where I found the back window broken and all the luggage in the car stolen,” Aucoin told Exclaim.ca.

The report did not indicate where the incident occurred.

Of the most valuable items taken were the laptop and his passport. “Luckily, a pamphlet for an animal sanctuary happened to be covering my wallet, which made the next couple days of logistics easier.”

Aucoin made it back to Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada) on January 13 — after the painstaking process of obtaining an emergency passport.

However, experience hasn’t dampened his sunny spirits. In fact, Aucoin hopes it was at least a thrill for those who robbed him.

“I realize how lucky I am, and even though this is a really bummer thing to have happened, I’ll move on and it’ll be OK. I’ve been enjoying the thought of that moment of excitement the thieves must have experienced when they opened my bag to find a laptop. I hope there were some high-fives and smiles.”

How can you avoid having your car broken into?

  1. Lock you valuables in the trunk. If an SUV, a compartment in the back of the vehicle, ie. the spare time, the jack, etc.  Most break-ins are theft of opportunity. If nothing valuable can be visibly seen, thieves may move on to the next.
  2. Visible luggage is a sure sign you are tourist and in a rental car, and won’t be around for the trial if the thieves are ever caught. In an SUV, camouflage the luggage.
  3. When getting out of the vehicle look around you, be aware of your situation. Don’t assume that because you are parked in a public area and with a lot of people around, your vehicle won’t be targeted.
  4. Park in a paid lot whenever possible.

If you have your vehicle broken into, call police (911) and rental car company.