Suspicious Activity Advisory

I received the following information for posting. I also added it to the CHIRIQUI WATCH site.

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Don,

Please keep us anonymous in this message…. I feel I should report an incident we had today, so that everyone else can be aware.

My wife and I were stalked today on our way back from David to Almirante. It noticeably began just after the area of the road called the devils back bone in the mountains. A man driving a small Black SUV with the large white letters on the sides and back reading”tourismo” was pulled over mostly in the road. He was motioning for us to stop. As our taxi driver approached he began to slow as the first impression was he was out of gas.

When our driver saw his face he said “no” under his breath and began to accelerate again as we passed him. I said to our driver “he might be out of gas”. Our driver then told me “No this man is very dangerous! They call him some nic name something like the Americano (note he doesn’t look like a gringo, very tall and light skinned yes but still Latino). He then told me he is known to live in maybe David or Almirante and is known to befriend gringos and then kid nap them and extort money from them. He told me this is a “bad man you stay away from him”. Ok so I take note and we go on with our conversation.

As we approach the reservoir my wife says she really needs some fresh air, so we pull off at the last pull out over looking the reservoir before the bath rooms and vendors. I few minutes later here comes the same black car/SUV with the letters “toursimo” all over it. The man stops in the middle of the road, thank god he didn’t pull in and says to our taxi driver he is going to Almirante and that we should ride with him, our driver can turn around and go back to David and he will pay our driver the rest of the money for our fare. Our driver has been working for us for about 6 months now and seems to be a really good guy. He is from over in Bocas. we know a lot of the same people and after asking around Bocas about him he checks out. Our driver tells him “No its fine I will take them” The guy persist and says what do you not think I’m cool man? Our driver says “no all is cool I have no problem with you but I am am taking them.” So this guy drives on and leaves us. We got back in the car then stop a few minutes later to use the restroom at the public bathrooms at the dam. Afterwards we go on with our conversations thinking this is the last of him. Only it wasn’t.

Once we were loaded on the boat at Bocas Marine Tours and about to leave I see this same guy walk down the street to look at who has in our boat. He spots my wife (who is pregnant) and myself, he stairs at me. He then turns back and heads to the front of the building. Our water taxi at this moment pulls out of the slip and into the river…. as we begin to move forward this guy, the stalker at this point, comes out on the dock, with no bags, and starts yelling for the taxi to come back, he wants to get on it. The taxi driver reluctantly pulls it out of gear and hits reverse.

At this moment I tell the boat taxi driver that “this guy is crazy and please don’t go back for him”. The boat taxi driver hesitates so I persist and tell him that” I have a problem with this guy and PLEASE don’t let him on the boat!” This works and the boat taxi driver puts the boat and gear and we get away from the “Americano”.

He stands tall I never got close to him but guessing 6’2″ ish he had what looked like dyed hair, sandy blonde, wearing a small gold chain on is left wrist, and just looked like bad news! The fact that his car says tourismo all over it and is not a taxi makes the incident that much more spooky! Sorry if I included too many details, or enough details, or if they don’t sound compelling enough to draw the conclusion I have obviously reached. However, I’m sure of it…. this guy is dangerous!

Thanks for your time!

14 thoughts on “Suspicious Activity Advisory

  1. Just a suggestion. Brevity goes a very long way in getting people to read a report. How many restaurant reviews on Yelp do you read when they seem to go on forever. Just a suggestion.

  2. You might be right Ed, but I feel that the post, as written, contains many details of importance to understanding the MO of the person advised about.

    If people are too busy or not interested in information such as this, they may become the next Panama statistic.

    Personally I feel this information is more important than a restaurant writeup.

  3. Its to bad you didnt use your cel or camera to get a picture of this guy. It would be noce ot find out who he is

  4. As a former LEO I draw a different conclusion. I believe that the victims were much closer to a dangerous encounter with a hardened criminal who would probably harm anyone he could given the right circumstance. Never stop for anyone, a moving car is a great way to not only get out of the danger zone but out of the kill zone. Always act on your first gut feeling and get out and do it ASAP. The second mistake you made was stopping at the reservoir. Next time drive on for at least 20 miles or more.

    I always recommend possessing some type of personal protection equipment like pepper spray or better yet a taser. The M18/26 Taser made by Taser International is a highly effective way to defend yourself without the liability of lethal force.

    In Panama it is “completely legal” to posses, carry (concealed) and use a taser when justified. I have one and never leave home without it,

    Good Luck, Be safe

  5. Thanks for the feed back! In response… we couldn’t get to our camera quick enough to take a picture of him, in retrospect in may have worsened our situation. Also, I actually did have the Taser C2 in my pocket… it was in the trunk of the taxi in my computer bag. When we were stopped at the pull out I got it out of the trunk while the suspect and our taxi driver were talking. I will carry it in my pocket while traveling from now on. Also, you folks who know people, locals, around David try asking around about him if you want to find out his identity. Look for the described car, it’s very obvious. Sorry i couldn’t get a make and model on it!

  6. You all have over imaginations, why don’t you simply identify the taxi driver? He seems to be familier with this character

  7. I would have stopped at the first police checkpoint………….or stopped the first police car, motorbike, foot soldier, etc……..I would have encountered. I would have requested that the police compel that individual to produce I.D. (which is an everyday practice in Panama, because as I gringo, I get “carded” all the time). If that individual was operating on the “up and up”, he would not have any problems with being “carded” and giving a brief explanation to the police about his intentions. I would have “excused” myself to this individual under the premise that as a foreigner , you were not comfortable with his “marketing” tactics (you said that he was driving a car , marked “TOURISM”, so you could say he was doing “push” marketing).

    Second of all, I would not ride with a cab driver that would ever consider “handing me off”, to another public transportation service, specially if you’ve known the cab driver for six months and never while traveling with a pregnant wife.

    As foreigners we paint ourselves as targets and we must be triple vigilant to minimize that. Even with a taser at hand, having your wife by your side and expecting a child, would stop you from acting if she was grabbed first.

    Even if you know a Panamanian for years, you can never stop being alert, because there is a general consensus that all foreigners are rich. If it were me, I would not use the same cab driver again.

  8. Did I miss something? I don’t understand the disparaging remarks about the cab driver who, it appears to me, was a real help here. I can understand vigilance, but ….?

  9. The cab driver’s name is going to get you anywhere, as I have pressed i’m on it and he has said everything he knows, which I have relayed above. he never considered handing us off to anyone. I think Don is right imaginations are kinda running wild here. You all have all the information I have, do with it what you will. Good luck!

  10. We visited Panamá in 2007 and spent a wonderful 3 weeks, staying in B&B’s from 45 minutes east of PC in Cerro Azul, all the way out to north of Volcan, and at Hotel Executivo in PC. But in El Valle de Anton, one of our favorite spots (stayed twice at Los Capitanes – very nice), we were thoroughly informed of various road scams by a couple of new-found German friends who had lived in Panamá for 25 years or more. Unless on a tight schedule, I stop for people who appear to be in trouble when I am alone, but rarely stop when someone else is in the car because of the potential danger to them. So I appreciated and followed their advice.

    Very glad this tale had a favorable result for the couple, and I thank them for the extended account, as it’s much more meaningful and explicative of the subtleties of the situation. And the cabby would become our cabby for life.

    This man, The Americano, puts a new wrinkle on the roadside scam – unusually bold and brazen, if his intentions are nefarious. After you clearly had no interest in dealing with him, he continued to follow all the way to the harbor and tried to board the tender, which seems truly bizarre, and that he might be crazy. It sounds as though he should be easy to spot.

  11. Hay Mr. Maui I was told by folks who live in PC that certain sectors of the National Police have them but I don’t believe that they are readily available for sale to the general public. There was a vendor in PC but he said that his entire inventory was dedicated to the Police. I suspect that they are also equipping the Prison Guard in PC as well. I got mine from the states and brought them back with me.

  12. i just recently moved to boquete alone the taser sounds like an winner since i live alone some of the same guys that does construtcion work on house that they are building,come back to steal.

  13. We live in Boquetelandia where life is “lento, pero no muerto.” It seems relatively easy to be lulled into a sense of safety in our neck of the woods. Thanks to anonymous and Don Ray for providing the information. You are appreciated!

    Oh…and that chocolate cake should be headed to David sometime during the 1st two weeks of August.

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