Tag Archives: Chiriqui Neighborhood Watch

An Alert for all Residents of Alto Boquete

As we approach the end of the year, crime always picks up. Following is information about a recent crime spree in Boquete.

We need to alert all residents of Alto Boquete about the confirmed activity of a burglary gang operating in Alto Boquete. They have reportedly been responsible for more than 6 burglaries of locally owned homes in the area. The police are investigating, but need your help.
If you see anything out of the ordinary, please immediately call Rodny Direct. We will forward your information to the police.

The gang is suspected to be using a pickup truck with gardening equipment in the back. We believe that they are using this as a cover for casing houses to be burglarized. If you see a suspicious truck, or are approached by someone offering gardening services, or anything else suspicious, take a picture of the truck and the license plate. Email or Whatsapp it to Rodny Direct immediately. Call if you need help sending your pictures.

In particular, you need to get cedulas from any worker who comes on your property. Again, just take a picture of the cedula with your phone. If you are uncomfortable asking for cedulas, please call Rodny and he will get the information for you. Be alert to look for tattoos, which may indicate gang affiliation. This is very important.

Thanks in advance for your help! Alert citizens have broken many cases like this in the past.

Rodny Direct.



Home Invasion North of Concepcion

I just received the following email

Just wanted to let everyone know about a home invasion that happened three weeks ago, Wednesday at a cattle farm in the Sortova area North of Concepcion. The victims were Panamanian locals, not expats.

The home invasion happened around 1:30-2:00am. The five male intruders entered through a window. None of the windows on the house have security bars, which made it easy for them to enter. The family never new anyone was in their house until the intruders got them out of bed. All the intruders wore masks and gloves, and were armed with guns. The family was tied up with their eyes covered. The intruders ate the families food, took $200.00 and a cell phone. One of the intruders told the family that they were lost, and that is how that happened onto their home. At this point, all five of the intruders put the family into the family pick-up. All seven adults and two small children road in the cab with one of the intruders driving. The guy was driving like a bat out of hell and hit a cow in the road, but not bad enough to disable the vehicle. At this point, the mother took off her mask and sad what happened. She was told they hit a cow and to put her mask back on, but one of the other intruders told her she didn’t have to. Apparently the intruders were being friendly; they even went as far as telling the family they should have had bars on their windows and a mean dog to deter criminals. While they were driving down the highway towards David, a PNP vehicle passed them. They finally stopped some where on the South-side of David, and the gang got out of the truck. Because the pick-up was almost out of fuel, one of the intruders gave $40.00 back to the Father, out of the $200.00 they had take, to pay for gas so the family could get back home. Then the family was told not to say anything to the police, or they knew where they lived.

The family did not go to the police. Not so much, as for fear of their lives, but because they don’t believe the police would do anything. Many locals have been robbed. Many times more than Expats, but don’t report it.

Two things ironic about this incident are that this family had been told repeatedly that they needed to put bars on their windows by multiple family members. In addition, yesterday the father came home and caught a burglar trying to steal their television. After all they had gone through, they still hadn’t put bars on the windows. It’s now a priority.

My advise; increase physical security measures on your property and start a Neighborhood Watch program where you live.

BIG MTG Thursday!!! Crooks Caught in Cuesta de Piedra near Volcan

The following was posted on the Volcan Yahoo Group.

There is a meeting with the press and officials scheduled for Thursday afternoon at the Cancha( the big cover) in Cuesta De Piedra. 12 km below Volcan.

Please show up and offer your support towards changing things so that the ladrones-crooks have to pay consequences for their actions.
There have been a series of robberies in Cuesta de Piedra lately. ( among many other neighborhoods in Panama)

A few days ago another was in the process when it was foiled by the owner’s workers. Several of the community responded quickly and were able to catch one of the robbers who ran on foot and was subdued. 3 others fled in a vehicle and escaped even though a neighbor parked his car across the road. The fleeing vehicle when off road through rough terrain and back onto the road and fled.

The police DIJ responded in force and later in the evening, again with the tip of a neighbor, caught the other 3.

The recently formed neighborhood watch group is working and producing results despite all the naysayers.

After a couple days the alleged criminals were released. The case, however, continues to stay open.

The alleged criminals returned to Cuesta de Piedra last night and again the Police and DIJ responded to protect the victim and to look for the accused who allegedly brought a total of 8 associates with them.
Thus, a meeting has been called for Thursday afternoon with media presence and officials in order to address this grave shortfall in the laws surrounding criminals.





Report – Chiriqui Flea market – Crime Awareness Day

I received this for posting:

We are pleased to report that we gathered about 250 signatures from both Panamanians (who easily read and signed the questionnaire) and Expats, who signed a separate petition about changing juvenile laws here in Panama – punishment consistent with the crime. Many thanks to the volunteers – Marion Torgany, Carmen Restrepo, Norma Humphries, Bob Gregory and Tom from Alto a crimen, who gave their time to collect information. If anyone still wants to sign this petition you can stop in at Chiriqui Storage office; I will keep these papers until next week when the government is accessible. I plan on bringing the papers to Diputada Athena, and other government officials.

Donations for Marion Clamp added up to about $230.00; hopefully this can help a little with her hospital bill. You can still donate at the Chiriqui Storage office, weekdays between 10 and 3pm.

I should add that I had a donation of $250 sent to my PayPal account, that will be added to the CS donations.

You have my personal thanks for being interested in the efforts to bring more recognition to the crime situation in Chiriquí and across Panama and for the donations to Marion’s hospital account.

Chiriquí Is The Most Violent Province in Panama

On today’s TeleMetro morning news the commentator was talking about the increase in violence in Panama. TeleMetro is one of the country’s most watched TV stations and the one Lilliam listens to every morning to know what is happening.

The commentator said that currently, Chiriquí is the most violent province in Panama. Let that soak in.

The bread basket of Panama, where the majority of all agricultural produce originates. The home of Boquete, listed in International Living as one of the best places to retire. Chiriquí is the most violent province in Panama.

You have most likely heard the old saying, that it is actions and not words that make a difference.

I have been thinking about that some as a result of the two recent meetings in Chiriquí. The one in David, attended by Panama’s President Varela and the one in Boquete, attended by the Panama’s Minister of Security, Rodolfo Aguilera.

I think there was a large show of new vehicles including off-road 4x4s, talk about increasing police force and other signs which implied action taken. Continue reading Chiriquí Is The Most Violent Province in Panama

Recent Armed Robberies

There have been two recent armed robberies in David. One in San Mateo, where the owner of a small grocery was shot and killed and one last night in Plaza Terronal’s Do-It Center.

Plaza El Terronal – Do-It Center Robbery

In both cases one of the robbers was taken into custody. Panama really needs to take a hard look at the lenient laws related to minors. If a minor is caught committing a crime, they get nothing more than a slap on the wrist and are soon allowed to be back on the street.

This promotes gang violence and crime and has to be addressed, if Panama wants to change the growth in crime.

The Do-It Center robbery occurred at closing time. It should be a reminder that you have to pay attention of your surroundings especially if you are going to Plaza Terronal in the evening or night hours. Getting money from ATMs at night is not the best of ideas.

I would think all small business owners and restaurants will have to start being concerned again about evening robberies. A year or so ago, restaurants were targets in the evening hours. Many restaurant owners would unlock their doors to let you in and then re-lock the doors to protect their clients.

Every time Lilliam gets ready to visit her daughters and I am staying here alone, she spends an enormous amount of time reminding me to keep the doors and backyard gate locked at all times. She reminds me to take Koki out to pee no later than 6PM and then close all blinds.

Many might think she is overly cautious, but she has lived in David over 30 years, so I know she speaks with experience.

I really hate to see crime increasing and hope the Panama government focuses on the problem, especially crime committed by under aged minors. More police will not cure the problem, if there is no real punishment for minors committing crime.

A Tragedy at River Ranch

The following was posted on Boquete Ning and should be more widely known.

Saturday afternoon, July 18 – In casual conversation with Susan Peterson at the Handicapped Foundation, we were discussing the sudden and unexpected losses of Irene Haines and Lee Zeltzer. She observed, “Trouble always comes in threes – I wonder what’s next?” At 8:30 that very night, we had the horrifying answer.

At the request of Betsy, I am writing up this narrative so that we can all understand.

On Saturday night, Betsy Waddington, her 92 year old mother and 52 year old husband Joe Potrebenko were watching TV in the small downstairs apartment of their modest home in River Ranch, some 2km of dirt off the main Gualaca road.

Three intruders entered through a screen on an open window in the pantry, not 30 feet from where the family was sitting. They burst into the kitchen/living room area, the leader brandishing a silver revolver. Joe, sitting next to the TV, stood up and raised his arms and was instantly shot once in the chest from a distance of about 5 feet. Total elapsed time, less than 5 seconds. Of the seven guard dogs, not one of them detected the intruders.

Joe fell to the floor. The intruders grabbed Betsy and her mother, and threw them face down on floor next to Joe. They were tied with computer cords and Betsy was gagged. Within 5 minutes, Betsy felt her husband take his last breath.

Meanwhile, the criminals were screaming questions at them in a gutter Spanish – demanding to know where the guns were and where was the money. During the entire event, the leader, the murderer, was on the cell phone getting instructions from someone unseen.

For the next two hours they ransacked the house, upstairs and down, opening every drawer and container, throwing the contents around. Even though the killers were not masked, Betsy and here mother, terrified for their own lives, are unable to identify any of them.

They seemed to be very frustrated, because these gentle Canadians had no guns and lived a very modest lifestyle. In the end, they escaped with 5 laptops, three of them old derelicts, a collection of “antique” cell phones and about $50. They stole the family car and returned to the house to demand the gate keys whey they discovered they could not get out.

Another hour passed before Betsy and her mother were able to free themselves and drive to the nearest neighbor to call the police. Both on the night of the 18th and today, the 19th, large contingents of police were investigating, taking finger prints and such. Betsy describes them as very supportive and sympathetic. The stolen car is still missing at this time.

Today the Boquete community fell in to support Betsy and her mother, who are being well and lovingly cared of in this time of trauma. Alto al Crimen is also taking a role in the investigation, even as it reels from the loss of key board member Lee Zeltzer only days before.

Please be on the lookout for a red Nissan Frontier pickup with black roof racks and with plate # 782 874.

The question of why remains unanswered at this time. This was clearly an organized hit, with the leader frustrated and taking directions during the event. Were Joe and Betsy really the intended victims? No guns, no money, no valuables. It seems likely that the shooting was in fact an accident, a reflex by a novice shooter high on adrenaline and what else?

Make no mistake, Betsy has seen her idyllic life in Panama destroyed and will never recover from the PTSD that will haunt her forever.

What can we all learn from this tragic event? First and foremost, not taking care of your personal security is not an option. In no country in the world can the police protect you from this kind of attack. It is up to YOU to provide for the safety of your home and your life.

Our prayers are with Betsy and her mother Lorraine. Please give them all of your love.

Mark Heyer

Armed Robbery in Boqueron

Reposting from another website

Place: Meseta in Boqueron
What Happened:
three criminals broke into a house and tied up the house owner and his wife with electric wires. They entered by the back door and threatened the man and his wife with guns, after that, criminals stole 1,500 dollars, one checkbook with blank and some others signed. In addition, the bad guys took some credits cards from Banesco, General Bank, BAC Azteca and others.
The victims are Eric Azura who is 33 years old from Salvador and his wife Ruth Castillo that is panamanian. They could not describe the criminal because they were wearing masks.
They even did not know if the criminal had car or not, but there are some clues that indicate the criminals live in David and there are at least two or three of them that are “working” in the area.

Robbery At El Rey Parking Lot David Today

Recently posted on Boquete Ning.

We had just left Price smart with about 100.00 worth of stuff in the car then went to El Rey in David. Went in to the store came back out and everything was gone including everything in the glove box all cd’s phone cords everything.

Just beware. No we did not tell the police since its just a waste of time when the security guard was right by our car so why bother. This happened between 3 and 3:15 today. BEWARE….

Please note, this did not happen to me. I am just copying and pasting from Boquete Ning so those that Use El Rey or any other stores in Plaza Terronal of the continuing problems.

This is nothing new.

Another Violent Crime in Chiriquí

There was recently another crime in Chiriquí. I understand that a man was killed in Alanje. I could not understand all of what was said on the news, but maybe some of the Panamanian readers can add something.

This is just another sign that crime is increasing in Panama and this must be stopped. The locals are worried and it will affect how all tourists and people who are planning on Panama as a home, will view the country.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the man that was murdered.

UPDATE: The following was sent to me by a Panamanian reader that translated it into English from an article in the  El Siglo Digital.


A worker found him dead, stabbed in his thorax, in the kitchen of his ranch.

Yesterday morning, a worker from a cattle ranch in Palo Grande, Alanje, Chiriquí, went to look for his employer and found him stabbed in the thorax.

Dr. Clemenmte Sánchez (56) was murdered at his Villa Denis ranch kitchen. The worker communicated it to the authorities.

The rancher´s corpse had a knife-caused thorax wound and other contusions compatible with the fall.

Besides, there were cartridges in the kitchen, but it was disclosed that the rancher had firearms in his house.

Clemente was an outstanding (veterinary) doctor, rancher and rice grower. He was President of the Cebu Breeders Association ( CRICEPA, from the Spanish acronym) and and member of the Chiriquí Rice Poducers Association (APACH, from its Spanish acronym).

Franklin Amaya, Second Superior Prosecutor of Chiriquí went to the crime scene to perform the legally- sanctioned removal of the corpse, and he doesn’t deny that the cause of the murder could be robbery by an organized group, given that during the last two weeks there have been three other murders in the area close to that community.

Cattle ranchers and rice growers are mourning Dr. Clemente´s death because he was a well-known, respected person.

Ricardo, “Dicky Saval”, cattle rancher, said: We all are very sad for this happening, we hope those people are punished for this crime, we have heard there have been a lot of robberies and we ask the authorities to provide security.”

Saval declared he has fond memories of Clemente.

So far, no one is under arrest for this crime which is the fourth recorded in Chiriquí in 2009.