Three guards on an armored car fell for the old punctured-tire trick, Saturday and bandits made off with some 200,000 colons, some $400,000.
The guards got out of the vehicle after they realized a tire had blown out. This is the same trick that crooks play on rental car operators. The victims are mostly tourists.
The armored vehicle was en route to Guanacaste. The tire blew about 4:45 a.m. near the bridge over the Río Virilla on Route 27 in San Rafael de Alajuela, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.
When the guards began to change the tire, two vehicles containing armed men pulled up and began to fire, agents said the men told them.
The bandits pistol-whipped the guards and locked the men in the rear of the vehicle, agents recounted.
Typically, at least one guard remains in the locked compartment containing money and valuables. There was no explanation why all three of the guards were outside or why they did not return fire on the bandits. The vehicle belongs to the VMA firm.