Esparza struggles with bandits and with poor police response

An up-close and personal experience with a home invasion has left an expat couple in Esparza frightened and less than satisfied with the police response.

Deb Klipper and her husband were not the victims of the home invasion. That unhappy role went to their shared caretaker at a neighbor’s home. The neighbors were away when robbers arrived. They tied up and locked the man in a room, and he had to break a small window after two hours to get out and run to the Klipper home, she said in an email.

“I want to get the word out that increased police force and presence in San José is pushing the ladrones out to the campo areas,” Mrs. Klipper said. “In little Esparza, a simple agricultural town, we are fearing for our safety. Having lived here over six years, we are now experiencing armed robbery in what was a peaceful area amongst cows and horses. In just one month, two homes have been invaded that I know of, in each home an individual was tied up at gunpoint and robbed of the usual: computer, small electro domesticos, power tools, cell phone.”

When the caretaker awoke the couple, they all feared that the robbers would return. Already the crooks had hauled a stove out by a garage, she said. “Our caretaker was hysterical, the ladrones had used packing tape to bind him and gag him,” she said.

“The dispatcher for the local police was not going to send anyone out until the next morning,” she said. “My husband had to convince her, argue to almost a point of hostility, to send them out. Especially with the statement the ladrones made that they ‘would be returning for the bigger stuff.’ The stove was already out by the garage in preparation for their return. We were very afraid, yet the people who are supposed to protect us and help us feel secure in our community, did not give that impression.”
“It was all pretty disconcerting, believing the ladrones would return before the police arrived or not, and seeing our caretaker so horribly shaken and afraid,” she said. “Plus, we did not know if perhaps one or some might still be in the house.”

So the Klippers waited with the shaken caretaker and their shotgun not knowing who would arrive first, the police or the crooks.

Two policemen eventually arrived in about 30 minutes, she said. Now the Klippers and the neighbors, mostly Costa Ricans, are organizing to fight crime.

“It would be nice to know that some of the 13 percent tax on certain goods would place more police in our area and ones that aren’t afraid to combat crime: Be present, drive up and down the roads, send a message to the ladrones that we will not let them win. Is this too much to expect,” she asked.

Such home invasions are a nightly event.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that a similar incident happened in Dulce Nombre de la Unión Sunday night. About 10 p.m. four armed and masked men broke into a home, threatened and then tied up the residents. The crooks took appliances and a small safe. Informal reports said that the intruders were armed with shotguns and had poisoned the homeowners dogs two evenings earlier.

In Guachipelín de Escazú Monday night the story was different. Crooks came to invade the home, but no one was home. So they looted the place. Fuerza Pública officers surprised them, and the trio fled in a car. They took a wrong turn and had to bail out and flee on foot. One of the crooks fell and hit his head on a rock, a fatal injury.

The other two were detained. Police said there was evidence inside the car of other home invasions.

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