The car thieves learned long ago that the best customer for the stolen vehicle was the victim. What emerged was a long tradition of stealing cars and then ransoming the vehicle back to the owner.
That was an imperfect system because sometimes the telephone caller was a scam artist and not the person who stole the vehicle. There also was official involvement uncovered in some cases.
Now the system seeks to have encompassed any kind of stolen goods. Agents reported Sunday that they arrested a man who attempted to sell back stolen goods to the original owner.
They detained a 32-year-old man in Hatillo 5, and said that Friday at midday someone burglarized a home in that community and took television sets, sound equipment, microwaves, a DVD and 140,000 colons in cash.
A short time later the homeowner received a call offered to bring back the stolen goods for the payment of 30,000 colons or about $60. When agents made the arrest Sunday afternoon, they were able to recover the stolen goods, they said.