The central park in Grecia. Photo: http://www.anywherecostarica.com/
The central park in Grecia. Photo: http://www.anywherecostarica.com/

A wave of crime that has been sweeping through the northwestern rural areas of the province of Alajuela seems to be spreading to other cantons to the south.

As previously reported by Radio Santa Clara, robberies and break-ins have multiplied in recent months, but criminals are now turning violent and targeting expats from the United States living in the Grecia canton.

According to a report by Carlos Hernandez of Radio Santa Clara, 550 AM, criminals around Ciudad Quesada (San Carlos)

are now using firearms and blunt metal objects to ply their wicked trade. Degenerate criminals who had robbed lottery salespeople in the San Pablo neighborhood and relieved them off 6 million colones (about $12,000) continued their crime spree and shot a young woman in the abdomen as she carried her baby.

Five days before that ghastly incidents a man broke into a home in a new residential community and sexually assaulted a woman before he made off with valuables. A similar incident took place at the Abundancia neighborhood, where assailants resorted to sexual intimidation of a woman before running away with more than $6,000 in stolen goods.

On September 22nd, a security guard at the Meco Shopping Center was overpowered by various individuals who broke into the San Ramon Jewelry shop and stole about $80,000 in assorted merchandise. Just a few days ago, a man shot at a woman right in front of a Banco Nacional branch in San Roque in Grecia; the woman was not injured, but the thief snatched her purse containing $6,0000. Fuerza Publica officers quickly reacted, caught the assailant and returned the stolen purse.

U.S. Expats in Grecia Victims of Break-In

In the Laguna sector of Rio Cuarto, a couple from the U.S. was surprised when three individuals invaded their home and stole a few items. Fuerza Publica officers caught the suspects. The regional director of Fuerza Publica stated that more information on these criminals was forthcoming.

Along with the daytime street robbery in San Roque, residents of the large Grecia canton of Alajuela are worried that their idyllic paradise, which is just beyond the edge of the Greater San Jose Metropolitan Area (Spanish initials: GAM), will fall victim to crime.

Paradise Lost

The Municipality of Grecia was once known as the cleanest city in Latin America, at least until the majestic city of Curitiba in Brazil took those honors. For many foreign expats residing in the Grecia canton, this is one of the best-kept secrets in Costa Rica. The charming city of Grecia is just an hour away from downtown San Jose, which makes it part of the GAM. The surrounding districts, however, are rural areas where wealthy and working-class families rub elbows with the occasional expat.

Earlier today, the staff at Cafe Delicias, a sidewalk cafe that caters to expats in downtown Grecia, were busy discussing recent events and how expats would react to the home invasion in Rio Cuarto, the armed robbery in San Roque, the scary hostage negotiation at a retail store, and today’s violent  execution of a man as he was getting ready to take his 6-year old daughter to school.

A few people from Grecia also have ties to the U.S., and it is not unusual to hear English conversations in the downtown district. The Grecia canton is home to considerable wealth produced by sugarcane and coffee crops. There is also a healthy real estate and used car dealership scene; to this end, the Organization for Judicial Investigations (OIJ) has conducted investigations on money laundering operations involving individuals from Costa Rica and the U.S.

Article by Costa Rica Star


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