Cuenca News

Arrest made in ‘bump and steal’ scheme but police say motorists should remain alert

A Peruvian man was arrested Monday on suspicion of being part of a gang that targets motorists on Cuenca historic district streets.

Peruvian theft ring works on 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.

  • Katheryn

    I hope the penalty for these crimes is stiff to deter more of the same.

  • lorenzo

    There’s another trick that Peruvians practice. I say this because the first time it happened was when I was in Lima. The second time was in Cuenca, though I’m not sure the guy was from Peru. I’ll be walking down the street and someone passing by will drop a wad of cash in front of me. I pick it up and catch up with the guy to give it back. The guy immediately becomes offensive claiming that I took some of it and demands that I show him what I have. I’m seasoned to be on the lookout for scams, so I just walk away. But it happens so fast that one’s first reaction is to become defensive and maybe even pull out money that I’m sure would disappear somehow. It’s just a word of caution if you happen to see someone “accidently” drop some money.