A Peruvian man was arrested Monday on suspicion of being part of a gang that targets motorists on Cuenca historic district streets.
According to national police, the gang or gangs, operates in groups of three, with one member driving a car that rear-ends another vehicle on a crowded street. When the victim leaves his car to check for damage, the other gang members grab items from inside the car and run.
“We have made one arrest but believe there are more thieves still out there, and there may be more than one group participating in this,” said police information officer Juan Quinde. “We believe the people involved are from Peru, where this crime is common.”
According to Quinde, four other thefts using the same modus operandi have been reported in Cuenca in the past two weeks. One victim was Yacu Pérez, president of the Ecuadoiran Kichwa Confederation (Ecuarunari). Pérez said the thieves stole a laptop computer and legal documents in the attack. “I didn’t notice what I lost until I got back in the car,” he said. “It’s a sophisticated operation that uses the element of surprise and I fell for it.”
Police advise motorists who are hit by another vehicle to lock their doors before leaving their cars to check for damage.