Cops face definitional problem with homemade weapons

Photo: Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridaad Pública

When is a gun not a gun? When it is homemade, according to the Fuerza Pública.

Ialdo Bejarano, the deputy chief in the Alajuelita region said that police officers constantly are coming into contact with youngsters who have homemade weapons, However, the local prosecutor declines to prosecute because the devices are not considered real guns.

Although the weapons appear real and shoot real bullets, those who carry them cannot be accused of carrying a weapon illegally, under the rule stipulated by the prosecutor in Hatillo, said the Fuerza Pública.

The comments came in a discussion of a high school boy, 14, who was found firing a homemade weapon Friday. That was in the community of Tejarcillos. A passerby alerted police.

The youth also had 125 .22-caliber bullets on his person. The youth, identified by the last name of Mora, wore the uniform of the Colegio Teodoro Picado in Alajuelita.

Bejarano said that a number of robberies and other crimes take place with the aid of homemade weapons. He said it appeared that someone was making such weapons for sale in the area.

There is no shortage of commercially made weapons. The Fuerza Pública said that officers detained 15 persons over the weekend on allegations of carrying weapons illegally or in using them in a crime.

In Paracito de Santo Domingo de Heredia police detained two men who were believed responsible for a drive-by shooting. The crime was witnessed by a police officer. Wounded was a man identified as Gerardo Serrano Morales. Other police officers intercepted the presumed getaway vehicle, detained the two men and confiscated a .22-caliber pistol.

In Limón police intercepted two suspects facing allegations that they stuck up a delivery truck near Chiroles in southeastern Costa Rica and took 500,0000 colons, about $1,000. The truck belongs to Distribudora Rodríguez, said police. The driver was not hurt.

Police also took the weapon of a private guard in Muelle de Florencia near San Carlos because he did not have a permit to carry one.

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