Armed Robbery in Potrerillos Arriba

Last night around 2AM, three young individuals broke into a house of a close friend of mine in Potrerillos Arriba. The individual was stabbed and shot twice. I have been to the Hospital and spoken to the hospital staff and the doctor following surgery.

The patient is stable, but in serious condition. The stomach wound caused multiple internal complications and the surgery was described as serious in nature.

Family is in route to Panama. I know friends and neighbors are eager to help and concerned. Blood was donated this morning following surgery.

The doctor said that the patient needs a calm environment and rest for the next 24 hours. I plan on returning later this afternoon and will be in constant contact with the hospital.

This is not the first break-in in this area. All living in that area should be on the alert.

The three young individuals entered early in the morning, when they assumed the home owner would be asleep. They obviously don’t care about human life and may be young enough they are not worried about prosecution.

In your spare time today, please say a prayer that recovery is complete and rapid.

lUPDATE: 3:00PM – I just returned from the hospital. I visited about 15 seconds, just long enough to say that everything was being taken care of and to rest and not worry. I will be at the airport when the family member arrives.

The patient’s blood type is A+. There is a good chance that more blood may be needed in the next few days. If you are A+ and willing to donate blood, place yourself on the Boquete Blood Donors list. Click HERE for more information.

UPDATE 9:00PM – I picked the family member up at the airport. We went directly to the hospital. She was able to spend time with her mother before we returned to my house. She will be staying with me while this situation is in process.

Thanks to all who have offered and have provided help. The robbery victim is a strong person and with God’s help will make it through this.

28 thoughts on “Armed Robbery in Potrerillos Arriba

  1. If more blood is needed, I will post a request as well as contact the Boquete Blood group. I will be going back to the hospital in the afternoon. The doctor wanted complete rest at the moment. When visitors are permitted, I was told it would only be one person at a time. For the time being all that can be done is being done. Absolute rest is mandatory.

  2. Could you please tell us where in Porterillos Arriba? We have several friends there since we lived there for 9 months prior to moving here to Alto Boquete. You can message me on FB if you would. REALLY worried. This is the first we have heard anything.

  3. I spoke with Dr. Cattan after the finished surgery this morning. The patient, a good friend, is A+ blood type. Dr. Cattan said she would need probably 3 more pints over the next few days. The Boquete blood bank people are on it.

  4. Living here in Panama can be dangerous unfortunately … This type of crimes “the home invasion” has become a Big Problem here for many elderly & retired residents … These senses crimes for $$$ ( a HUMAN LIFE here is not worth as much )

    MORE FACTS: people living alone or outside a populated area are becoming targets ….Next question, Is this going to get worst ?… probably, but I HOPE NOT >>>>

    Living here will require a Sixth Sense or being able to defend yourself ( A weapon, or Bad dogs, or something that will let them know that your not afraid or an easy mark .(Protection ) .

    These Scumbags need to be taken down a notch asap … There are people who take care of these things .( NO … NOT the police ).. Wake up and look at your options … This is a very different culture …

  5. Unfortunately another innocent person is nearly killed by hoodlums who basically have free run of the city. When are people going to learn that the govt of Panama could care less about its citizens.

    People need to protect themselves regardless of the archaic laws of a backwards govt in Panama. You can bet that all the govt officials have guns or are protected by those who carry them. They need to try to live in a “gun free” zone….

    Enough of the restrictions on importing or purchasing weapons here. The bad guys don’t have any restrictions so why should the good citizens.

    It’s time for concealed/open carry here. For all you anti gun people you might need to go back to the USSA and move to Chicago or New York were you be safer!!! OH NO!!!! Aren’t those 2 of the highest murder rates in the country???? Aren’t they the ones who banned all guns? Chicago has 1800 murders this year alone and yes obummer says not a word about that.

    Wake up folks…you are on your own here. The police are useless and could care less about the gringos!!! Unless they catch you in their bogus speed traps for $300.oo !!!!

    Have a great life in Chiriqui…..

    Jim n The KidZ

  6. How many times does this have to happen before people wise up!!! This is a 3rd World poor country. Many families just scraping to get by, We, the foreigners live in bigf beautiful houses, for the most part (compared to the locals) , and dine in fine restaurants . What many don’t understand that this is a different culture than back home where you came from. If you don’t take the precautions stated on numerous websites, forums, blogs etc… shame on you. Young people living hand to mouth, uneducated, some supporting children (pensions), and low paying jobs see an opportunity to enrich themselves and purchase Smartphones, Smart TV’s, the latest clothing styles, drugs etc… everything that young people have in the U.S., Canada, or Europe have, by attacking east marks. Yes, the laws need to be changed, young people need be accountable but until this occurs you need to defend yourself. Tall Perimeter Fence, two or more bite ass dogs, two doors for each entrance (main steel security door and outer screened security door), Window security bars mounted on the inside, alarm system, etc…

  7. Tamara Balkenhol and I are coordinating the blood donation. Some of our donors we called, did not go to the hospital because they thought from reading posts either here or .ning, blood was not needed. I am in contact with the physician, who was concerned no one showed up to donate! We have them back in motion again, unfortunately with a 7 hour delay. It takes the hospital minimum 4-6 hours to do the type & cross labs.
    If you have questions about donating blood, we are the two people who have that current information. If you have A Positive blood, please go to the web page, click blood donation on the left side, and read the criteria for donating. If you meet the criteria, please call Tamara or me.
    Tamara 6632-1877
    Charlotte. 6693-5005
    Thank you for your concern and desire to help.

  8. don, i have a suggestion. since most expats here are over the age to donate blood, or don’t qualify for other reasons, it would be a good idea to post that people should ask their neighbors if they are type a + or o neg. already spoke to charlotte and she says no one’s donated yet. i can’t, b +. if by tomorrow no one has, i’m going to stand out in front of mae lewis and offer to pay anyone who can.

    we need to get blood for marion any way we can. no excuses…

  9. Charlotte, Just to clarify, I did not say that blood was not needed and I said that anyone with A+ blog to go to an register as a donor.My earlier statement that I would notify if more donations were needed was based on the patient having had a donation. That was clarified with the 3:00PM update. And I removed the previous qualification.

  10. Annie, I usually leave the blood coordination up to the Boquete group because they have more contacts and it keeps a unified list. Also many of the fire stations keep lists of potential Panamanian donors. They may or may not request a payment for the blood, but that is not an obstacle.

  11. if you’ve got a contact with radio chiriqui, please ask them to make an announcement requesting blood donors. thank you for all of your help, don.

  12. I am sure that the Boquete donors group have all the contacts. If they contact me for help I will give it. I am currently at the airport waiting for the family to arrive.

  13. Just wanted to express my thanks, Don, for all that you do and especially for your involvement in this latest incident. I am appalled by the comments made against you on Boquete Ning by the administrator Ambreen. Her remarks and attitude are unwarranted and erroneous. I withdrew from Ning almost a year ago due to the quality of the site, and haven’t yet found a reason to return. Hence I am unable to comment on Ning, but encourage you to “keep on keeping on” and ignore the all-too-typical nastiness prevalent there. Thanks again for you consistent and unselfish involvement in numerous incidences affecting the Chiriqui expat communities over the years.

  14. There is only one thing I can say like Martinelli did. He wants Panama to be like Singapore. He however forgot to mention criminal laws to be applied like in Singapore. Death penalty for drugs trafficking. Flogging with a cane on your ass. Long prison terms for illegal arms possession. Law and order. We have been robbed at gun point by two young men in Santa Lucia 29th of July. Too many bastards in this world.

  15. Charlotte, you are so correct about Don and his devotion to the community.

    Without a doubt, if I need to validate anything, I check in with Don first! He always responds has never refused help and he is always kind when doing so.

    I have lived here just over ten years and to this day, I have no idea why any of us feel we can get any thing done, without the help of another! To think otherwise is setting the stage for disaster! We are guest here and being part of our host community is so important. It does not matter which side of Baru you live on! A crime committed against one, is a crime against us all and we should show concern.

    We need to let go of the ego and try to find a way to set a positive example while we live here. We are no different, no better, no more, no less, than our Panamanian neighbours. We are guest! We need to look out for each other and that is the bottom line! All of the negative comments and back stabbing will not change that fact!

    If we are not part of the solution (in a supportive and positive manner), then we are part of the problem!

    Again, thank you Don for keeping an open heart and mind! You have broad shoulders and that is what it takes to keep a Blog such as this going! Please DO keep it going!

  16. Of course this is a horrific situation. I live In Potrerillos and we’ve been warned constantly by the police and officials in Dolega about 3 guys driving around in a fake taxi robbing homes. My wife and I constantly keep the gate locked an door closed. When unknown folks appear at the gate we only go halfway out towards the gate until we are sure there ok and I keep my permitted gun by my side.

    That said I will mention that August 2015 was a record setting month in neighboring Costa Rica where my wife’s casita is reporting states at least 2 gringos were killed per day. Some days more than two. So, it’s the same in most Latin American countries nowadays. Mainly do to the economic conditions.

    However, to lambast Panama with the “third world” bullshit is also garbage. Do you think the US is better ? Do any of you follow the real happenings in almost every city with heroin an shootings ? And, the home invasions happen every 22 seconds. In the rural areas the stats are almost as bad. Does anybody have the recent statistics on hitchhikers killing folks or fake assistance situations designed to rob passerby’s ?

    I’ll just close in saying I purchased a condo in Coconut Creek , Florida a while back to get ready for Medicare an my first Social Security check in 2017. I bought it through the website and I’ve continued to receive emails about the area an property listings. The weekly email always contains the crime stats. As, minor an major crimes and the Potrerillos area contains a larger population base than Coconut Creek, but, Coconut Creek has many more serious crimes and minor ones as well.

    So, i’ll be at the range in David on Tuesday and every other Tuesday to keep sharp. I’ve also had the wife practice with the taser.

    Sampson Valverde

  17. Sampson, in the USA you can find safe neighborhoods and communities to live in. In Panama there are not many choices other than fortified gated communities. In the USA ordinary expats are not targets and singled out so your risk of being a victim is diluted among your neighbors. In Panama expats are prime targets so crime risk is concentrated and thus greater. Even though overall crime stats may be similar between places the risk of being a victim is much higher in Panama than the USA. When you are a prime target then crime risk is much higher anywhere in the world regardless of local stats.

  18. I’ll bet the victim and her family are right proud to know that the perps in this case now know exactly where she is for a little “follow-up”.

  19. Prayers for the complete recovery of this lady. I have lived in Panama for a combined total of 32 years. I am a retired Florida teacher as well. I have seen many “ex pats” come to Panama and make major errors through assumptions of public safety. The Panama police force has improved greatly in the last 15 years but it comes no where near having the funding, technology or training of a U.S. Police Force. We do not need “open carry” or more lax gun laws. That is simply importing the horrific situation that now exists in the U.S. where people are shot in churches, schools and theaters to Panama. Some suggestions: Be very careful about the place/area you choose to live in Panama. Be proactive when it comes to your own safety. remember that a large portion of people in this country live in extreme poverty and to them, just by the fact that you are a foreigner means you have money. A condo, with guards, in the city or a more established neighborhood like Coronado is your best bet for safety, especially if you are in your “mature” years. Get to know the locals, living next to or hanging out only with ex pats is not going to teach you much about the community. Panama is a beautiful, wonderful country and can be a wonderful place to live.

  20. I have traveled and lived in various places around the world, some with very poor populations, but in MOST of them, it is NOT assumed that it’s OK to steal and harm others just because they have more than you do. Poverty doe NOT give ANYONE the right to steal or another, just to “get their stuff”. And it’s despicable that some people excuse this kind of behavior just because people are poor.

    My travels included most of Southeast Asia, India, China (before Nixon), etc. I lived in Mexico and Ecuador. The ONLY places where it’s deemed OK to steal in this manner are ALL the former Spanish colonies, including Guam, the Philippines, Mexico, Central and South America. Of course, where the British had influence, you rarely find this.

    Like it or not, the Spanish were brutal conquerors, and left behind tremendously corrupt social and governmental systems. And it has filtered down to the common people, who will always see the gringo as “fair game”.

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