Donations for the Poor
Last year, a young woman rang our doorbell asking for a donation for a disabled child. We live in the Santa Ana district of downtown Merida and she said the funds were being raised by Santa Ana church to pay for surgery for the kid. I dug out fifty pesos and handed her the money. She asked whether she could come in and have a glass of water. “Of course,” I said.
She came in and I went back to the kitchen to get the water. She gulped it down and asked for another glass. I went to get it, and this time she followed me back and passed me, walking out into the patio. I quickly filled the glass and brought it out to her. She drank a bit and left.
Now she was wearing a lot of make-up. And some key teeth were missing from her mouth. And she looked a bit floozy-ish for a church girl. But I figured, I’m a foreigner, what do I know?
Later in the day, I discovered that the bag I kept the cash in – in my purse – was gone. And so was my cell phone. Both were in a purse out on the patio, where she had been alone for maybe a minute.
A couple of days ago, another young woman with a similar look came to the door soliciting for some sad cause and I asked for ID. She showed me a xeroxed and bad looking ID and I said I’m sorry, but no, and didn’t let her in. She might have been fine, but I don’t know.
A few weeks ago, a messy looking young man came to the door and asked for water. I said no, but before I got the door closed, Jim recognized him as one of the stonemasons working next door. I felt terrible and of course we gave him a LOT of water.
It has been horribly hot here and it seems perfectly reasonable for someone to ask for water, especially when your wood door is open and they can see in through the screened metal gate. But you have to be careful.
More Serious Stuff
A frail and elderly American friend of mine recently opened her door to two men who said they wanted water. She opened her metal gate, they came in, held a knife to her throat and tied her securely into a chair. They ransacked her house for nearly two hours and made off with family heirlooms, jewelry, cash, a computer, and other electronics. They had brought their own bags to pack things in and their own heavy tape to secure her to the chair.
She was scared out of her tree, needless to say, and it took her two hours to get out of the chair after they left. When she got loose, she called the p0lice, went to the police station and filed a report. After a lot of talk, the forensics guys came to her house and dusted for prints. Just today, they matched one set of prints to a man who is wanted for a number of crimes including a homicide both here in Merida and in Cancun. It will be interesting to see how they pursue this investigation.
In another case, a friend of mine was coming home late at night alone and as she unlocked her door, a pleasant looking couple who she had noticed down the block, took hold of her and held a gun to her body. They made her open the door and then give them all her cash, which she did, and they left. She did not report it.
It is comparitively safe here, but shit does happen. Be careful.
UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE
In the home invasion robbery, mentioned above, the police arrested the main bad guy today. He is in jail!! When he was arrested, he had some of my friend’s stolen articles in his bag. Good job, Yucatan Judicial Police!!!!
American Fugitive Extradited from Merida
In early September, Mexican immigration deported a pleasant American man who had been living among us for some time. The Mexicans, cooperating with American law enforcement, advised the US when the man was on the airplane to Houston, where he was apprehended when he deplaned. He had embezzled over half a million dollars from the trust accounts of his elderly clients, been tried and found guilty, and disbarred as an attorney. On the day of his sentencing, he flew to Merida, where he lived a quiet life until recently.