SCAM ALERT - Bus Rides

Letter to El Coco Beach -

We waited for the local Liberia/Coco at bus 6:00p.m. Our wait was 35 minutes. During that time is when and where we got targeted. My and I had a small suitcase and a bag. I got on the bus first and put my bag and case between my legs. My husband got on and a man helped him get his case up the stairs of the bus. The man put the case on the overhead rack. Another man thought my case should go on the rack and I went along with that. These men were very friendly and helpful. He asked me if I was going to Coco.
I was watching the bags the whole time. At the town of Communidad bus stop the two men stood up and dropped something at my feet. This was the distraction. At that moment I knew something was going down. I was on the aisle seat and jumped up and stopped them from taking one suitcase and one bag. They quickly exited out the front door. Then when I looked back a third man had taken one case and exited the back door. My husband was in the aisle seat and not really aware until I was yelling and running.
I ran out the back door after him and my case. The thief got into a 2000 Suzuki green car with the driver ready to go. (I don’t know cars but this is the same car I have at home). That car had been following the bus or that was at the predetermined stop for the theft. I got very close to the car before they left. I’m glad I didn’t catch up to him as I don’t know how aggressive they would have been towards me.
The passengers on the bus were supportive. Two women followed me off the bus. Women were yelling at the driver. I was verbalizing my frustration. The driver sat there until I calmed down and gave him the okay to drive away.
The moral of this experience is never, never, let your guard down. Protect you personal space and hold on to your stuff at all times. At the start of this bus trip I let my guard down and let their false friendliness and helpfulness cloud my better judgement. Thus, I allowed them to put our bags on the top rack.
This happened on January 15, 2012. One week later our friends had a similar ordeal. They didn’t notice their bag gone until they got to Sardinal.  This seems to be an organized scam on people returning from Nicaragua (1p.m. bus from Granada – arriving in Liberia around 6 p.m.) who are changing buses at the Burger King intersection.
In an attempt to help other travellers we reported this to the Coco police. They called in an interpreter but didn’t write down any of the details.

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