Thief gets a taste of vigilante justice

May 2, 2017 | 16 comments

The Cuenca neighborhood of Eloy Alfaro has a warning for thieves: “If you come to rob us and we catch you, we will show no mercy.”

According to residents, a man armed with a knife entered a house Sunday afternoon and threatened the owner if he did not cooperate. The homeowner hit his “crime alert” button and within minutes the alleged thief was cornered, disarmed, hog-tied and dragged out to the sidewalk.

Hog-tied thief gets cold water treatment. (El Tiempo)

The neighbors beat the intruder, poured cold water on him and, according to police, debated whether to douse him with gasoline and set him on fire. One neighbor offered a lighter sentence: to burn only his feet so he would not be able to return to the neighborhood.

Police, who were also alerted by the crime button, arrived and took the man into custody before his feet could be set on fire.

Study shows 27 mammal species live in Cuenca

A University of Azuay report documents 27 species of wild mammals living in the city of Cuenca and its suburbs.

Cuenca fox.

The objective of the study conducted by faculty from UDA’s Faculty of Science and Technology, is to provide a guide to government officials responsible for urban planning as well as to the general public. The information, compiled into a book offers distribution maps for the different species, specie etymology and descriptions, and natural history and habitat information.

Among the most common mammal species living in and near the city are foxes, four varieties of bats, the Andean skunk, moles, and possums. All are protected within the Cuenca canton.

Traffic drones on lookout for bad drivers

Cuenca traffic cops have a new weapon in their arsenal: Drones.

Purchased last month by the Cuenca Transportation Department (EMOV), the drones are already providing aerial views of high-traffic locations in the city, focusing on identifying speeders and drunk drivers. Drone cameras transmit images of offenders’ license plates back to transit police headquarters at EMOV.

According to EMOV, the drones will also be used to obtain traffic flow data that can help in the formulation of strategies to decongest high-traffic areas, the department says. Drone cameras can provide as much as an hour of continuous video coverage

The drones were used last weekend in the arrests of two drunk drivers. Video cameras spotted the vehicles moving erratically and police on the ground made the arrests.

Maduro calls for new Venezuelan constitution

In an attempt to stop mounting protests, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is proposing a national assembly of “peasants and working people” to rewrite the constitution. He said a new constitution would put an end to street protests against his government that have left 32 dead in recent weeks.

Maduro’s opponents quickly rejected the plan, calling it an attempt to avoid elections. Public opinion polls show the president’s popularity at 20% to 25%.

In a televised Labor Day speech, Maduro said he would call together what he described as a “citizens’ constitutional assembly of the people, that would be controlled by poor Venezuelans.”

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