Last updateTue, 12 Feb 2013 9pm

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Chapala cops round up crime suspects

Chapala Police Department chief Ramon del Arco reports the February 1 detention of a minor who appears to part of a gang responsible for recent burglaries that have plagued the Ajijic area.

The suspect was actually collared by an alert resident who detected that a break-in was in progress at his west side village home. Several accomplices were spotted escaping the scene. After being taken into custody by police, he admitted to being involved in three similar break-ins.

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{/reg}The young man is the tenth suspect apprehended by Chapala police since December 1 to be turned over to prosecutors at the Ministerio Publico (MP) for investigation on varied theft charges.

In a separate February 1 incident, officers captured two men accused of trying to squeeze several Ajijic businesses for protection money with claims of working for the notorious Zeta cartel.

Del Arco released a list of 20 individuals nabbed during December and January by the local police force whose criminal cases are now in the hands of the MP.

Extortion calls

The chief also issued a warning that the community is once again being targeted by telephone extortion artists. They employ different scams, including empty kidnapping and death threats, to elicit money from their victims.  The calls may originate from cell phones or out-of-state numbers. In some cases, callers have identified themselves as local policemen affiliated with the Zetas.  Targets of such calls should avoid revealing any kind of personal information and hang up as soon they realize the nature of the call.  If possible, numbers registered on caller ID should be jotted down and reported to the authorities. 

Crime reporting

Crime victims are encouraged to call 765-4444 or 765-4455 for immediate police assistance. Del Arco may be contacted directly at his cell number 331-271-8998, adding the 045 prefix for calls from local land lines. The police department has six English-speaking officers on staff, as well as personnel trained to draw up sketches of suspects.  

Formal criminal complaints should be filed at the Chapala MP office located at Juarez 573, open weekdays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Expat victims should go prepared to show original IDs (valid passports and immigration documents), and leave four photocopies of each. They will be asked for detailed descriptions of stolen goods, including photographs and bills of sale if available. Those who are not completely fluent in Spanish will need the aid of qualified interpreters to provide statements of the circumstances of the crime.{/reg}

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