Fuerza Pública officers said they nabbed three suspects and recovered the money.
The drama played out in Grecia where police appear to have received a tip in advance of the crime.
The victim withdrew 3 million colons, about $6,000 in cash from a local bank. But he had to stop his vehicle after leaving the bank because a tire went flat. Puncturing a tire is a traditional method of crooks. They either arrive to offer help and steal items or simply show up and stick guns in the face of motorists.
Tourists leaving an airport are prime targets because they are presumed to be carrying personal items already packed. However, some puncturing takes place at local service stations when an attendant is in league with crooks.
Police in Grecia were able to chase their suspects to a local shopping center where the trio were changing vehicles. Two vehicles were confiscated.
Javier Aguirre, head of the Fuerza Pública in Grecia identified the trio by the last names of Montero Solís, González Alfaro and Oyos Moreno.
One of the suspects tried to hide money in his underwear but officers managed to confiscate it, they said.