Home invasions are common, and many are not reported by news media now unless there is a death.
Two such cases happened Tuesday night.
In Barrio Milano, La Germania en Siquirres, five persons returning to a home faced armed invaders, and one of the home occupants, a 72-year-old man, identified by the last name of Brenes, suffered a fatal bullet wound. Two other persons suffered injuries. The crooks took a million colons in cash.
In the center of BriBri on the southern Caribbean coast an employee found the body of a 64-year-old man in his own home. The man, who had the last name of Fernández, owned rental cabins in the community, said the Judicial Investigating Organization. He was bound hands and feet. He suffered a blow to the head, agents said.
Cases of home invasions usually are submerged in a general statistical category of robbery, so accurate numbers are hard to get.
Even then, robbery is not always the motive. In a recent case near Quepos armed men dressed as police officers held an entire subdivision hostage. The real motive appears to have been revenge for a failed relationship.
The case was curious because even though police captured suspects on the highway, no agency issued a report on the incident.
Homes of drug dealers are prime targets, which is why such persons keep weapons at hand. But even humble homes are invaded to steal a few small kitchen appliances.
There also is significant involvement of minors. In a 2007 Rohrmoser case involving the home of Ricardo Toledo, a former presidential candidate, the killing of a neighbor was done by a minor.
The five persons in Siquirres who were bushwhacked Tuesday night were victims of a frequent method of operation. The crooks let the soon-to-be victims unlock the door. This happens, too, when a motorist arrives home and has a period of vulnerability as the gates to the parking area are opened.
Although there are some cases where crooks just take advantage of an open gate or door, the typical home invasion is closely planned. Savvy expats have prevented such crimes because they spotted persons who were conducting surveillance on their homes.