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Dec 11, 2019

Succotz Villagers Band Together to Root Out Criminals

The Succotz residents are up in arms about criminals targeting vehicle owners. They say that several strangers, reportedly Guatemalans, are moving about freely in their community conducting surveillance at different homes.  These reported thieves, they claim, would then strike on unsuspecting residents.  They report that two cycles and a vehicle were stolen from in the village. So now, they are prepared to put a stop to it.  On Tuesday night when a man, believed to be one of the culprits, was spotted in the village – residents armed themselves to hunt for him.  The man got away but villagers told News Five today that they remain on alert and will deal with those criminals whenever they are caught in the village.  Reporter Andrea Polanco has more.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Two truck full of cops rolled into San Jose Succotz Village around two o’clock this afternoon. The heavy police presence comes after more than one hundred residents took to the streets to look for bandits that they say have been targeting the village for over a week. On Tuesday night, a resident spotted a stranger in the village. That man, they say was taking pictures of a property.

 

Wilson Pat

Wilson Pat, Concerned Resident, San Jose Succotz

“We have noticed that the modus operandi of those guys is that they go and take pictures and then during the course of the week or during the day they try to sneak into the house and thief the vehicle. So, we were on alert.”

 

Residents took to the streets to hunt for the stranger – but he quickly disappeared into the bushes. Everyone, we spoke with said that the bandits are Guatemalans. And today the villagers made it clear that they will not tolerate these crimes in the Succotz.

 

Jorge Chulin

Jorge Chulin, Resident, San Jose Succotz

“The ones who stole the vehicles are Guatemalans. I am not sure why people are afraid to say it. Guatemalans are causing these troubles to us and this is our land and we can’t move from here. We have to defend our turf and that is what was shown last night. Vehicles, motorcycles, walking, running, machetes, sticks, whatever we had our hands on we had it. We circled all over the village but lucky they escaped.  A message was sent clearly. If they don’t understand they will feel it after this because they know – they know enuh that our forces don’t do anything to them and that is why they come.”

 

The bandits are reportedly accessing the border communities through the Arenal or Mollejon Roads. The thieves have stolen two motorcycles and a truck from the village. A second truck was stolen in neighbouring Benque Viejo.  Now, villagers have formed neighbourhood watch groups and are clearing bushy lots. The village council is also leading some of the efforts to respond.

 

Alfredo Manzanero

Alfredo Manzanero, Chairman, San Jose Succotz

“This is the first time we are dealing with this kind of issue and I have heard other villages and other towns, so it is not just Succotz. Things are getting kind of hard so we are working to deal with this matter.   We are working with the village council first, then secondly the minister of the area and the ministry of national security to implement some security in the area.”

 

Residents report that police presence is lacking in the village. They believe that criminals are taking advantage of this. They say that the police sub-station in the village is not always open – and that cops in the area don’t always readily respond – and that is why they are now taking matters in their own hands.

 

Wilson Pat

“We have a police station in Succotz where there is no police man. The police man in Succotz is being called to Benque. Whenever something happens in Succotz we cannot find the police and so we have to call Benque to assist. It is almost a mile away and the roads are not in a good condition to so it takes a lot of time to reach there.”

 

Jorge Chulin

“What we said was that if we caught that person or persons, we wouldn’t hand it over to the police. We would do our own justice. People like that they come back. Police catch them and release them and they come back. These are Guatemalans who come and cause us disruption, disturbance and distraction and nothing happens.   We have to put a stop. Succotz people say – no, no. It has to be done and it will be done. Last night we showed that we could handle. We nuh need no police man. In fact they don’t even go into the jungle – not even the bush. They were right there parked because they don’t want to go. Succotz people will go. So we have to put a stand or else this will continue.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.


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