QUEPOS, Puntarenas – A month ago, Michael MacLean left his job as a broker in the U.S. city of Boston and moved to Costa Rica to help his friend, Celeste Scarpa, open up a business.
“We were planning on setting up a bed-and-breakfast,” he said, pointing to the modern three story abode behind him, set artfully into the hillside overlooking the breathtaking Manual Antonio beach on the central Pacific.
That was, until, last Saturday morning when the two were assaulted by an intruder in the downstairs portion of their home.
The assailant apparently entered the gated property about 1:30 a.m. Saturday by stealth and made his way down a back staircase, stopping outside the door where MacLean and Scarpa slept.
“I could here the dog barking and thought it might be a frog or something on the other side of the door,” said MacLean. He then got out of bed and went to see what was going on. When he opened the door, the masked intruder, brandishing a weapon, stood two feet away.
“I thought it was a machete,” said MacLean. The weapon turned out to be a long black flashlight. The intruder pushed his way into the house and began striking MacLean, who fell against a nearby wall, protecting his head and face from the blows.
“I thought I was going to die.”
Scarpa, awakened by the sounds of the skirmish and MacLean’s screaming, rushed out to find both men on the ground, the intruder apparently having tripped over some nearby extension cable and dropped the flashlight. Scarpa picked it up and “got a few good hits in on his head,” MacLean said.
Clearly shaken by Scarpa’s response, the assailant made for the door and headed back to the staircase from where he had come.
Both MacLean and Scarpa chased him up the stairs. The assailant hit the garage door button and made a quick escape.
MacLean said he believes the burglary may have been done by someone familiar with the property, but police have closed the case, saying they have no evidence.
MacLean and Scarpa immediately called police and were rushed to the nearby hospital in Quepos where they were treated for wounds to the head and arms. Unsatisfied with their care in Quepos, the two took a cab home, still covered in blood, and flew to San José two hours later for further treatment.
“Now were going to put up razor wire, cameras, alarms, and we’re going to get a trained attack dog,” said MacLean, who is currently staying with Scarpa at a nearby hotel. “We really don’t feel safe.”
As the shock of the attack subsided, MacLean and Scarpa said they doubt they will stay in Costa Rica.
“We had a lot of plans,” said MacLean. “Now it looks like we are going to try and get this placed sold and head back to the States.”