San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Police nab thieves who targeted tourists

A joint operation executed by the Tourism Police and agents of the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) took down a ring of alleged thieves on a bus running the San José-La Fortuna de San Carlos route over the weekend, according to a report from the Public Security Ministry.

The three men, identified as Nicaraguan citizens with the last names Díaz, Martínez and López, all have criminal records, the report said. Díaz, 38, was wanted on aggravated robbery charges in Liberia, capital of the northwestern Guanacaste province, before his arrest, and both Martínez, 35, and López, 28, have been arrested more than 13 times each on robbery and other charges, the report said.

Police took down the group after two weeks of following the suspects. Since January, victims of theft on buses on that route have filed at least 11 incident reports, the statement said. Last weekend, agents boarded a bus on the thieves’ usual route, where they witnessed the suspects “manipulating the belongings of passengers.”

The suspects exited the bus at an intersection at Florencia de San Carlos. Police followed and detained the men, who carried a laptop computer, two banking tokens, scuba-diving equipment and various documentation belonging to a Norwegian tourist riding the bus with her husband. Police returned the woman’s documents.

Agents turned the three men and the evidence over to the Public Prosecutor’s Office in San Carlos. Martínez and López were each given one-month preventive detention, while Díaz was released, the report said.

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