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Robbers preying on Cuernavaca nightclubs

You might not see the falcon, but he can see you

Mexico’s General Prosecutor’s Office for Morelos is warning against criminal groups specializing in robbery and “express kidnapping”, operating both inside and outside of Cuernavaca nightclubs.

Ministerial Police coordinator Jose Robles Quintana said that bands are most active on weekends on Playa de Ayala and Teopanzolco Avenues, targeting youngsters, tourists and people with luxury vehicles.

“Early in the morning when they leave to go home, they are waiting for them.  They steal their trucks for a while, they call the family, they empty their wallets and credit cards.”

Express kidnapping is a Mexican specialty in which victims are not held for ransom, but rather taken to ATM’s and forced to withdraw money and cash advances as quickly as possible.  In this case however, Quintana said that ransoms are also sometimes being collected.

“The family pays 20 or 30 thousand pesos (US$1,500 to $2,200) and they are released.  The only other thing they take is the pickup, which practically makes it an express kidnapping”, Quintana stated.  “Usually they’re kidnapping people who drive Nissan X-Trails or other luxury pickups.”

Quintana said that the groups operate with “falcons” (spotters) inside who select and point out their targets, who are then followed home or stopped and robbed on the way.  He said there are no reliable figures on frequency, because some cases are not reported or simply reported as a stolen vehicle.  At times however, there have been six to eight cases reported in a single week.

The official urged nightclub visitors to exercise caution and avoid drinking to excess, which is a risk factor.