Written by Chris Gillcash
Thursday, 18 October 2012 18:20
As many people are aware there was a serious crime in Gorgona approximately 10 days ago. This crime involved an elderly couple from England who were renting a house near the fish market. They were subject to a home invasion, which involved a number of intruders with guns late at night. The thieves escaped with cash, credit card information and other valuables.
They also stole this couple's dream of retiring in Panama!
To say the least, this is a traumatizing experience. On a lesser scale this is very troubling for those of us who live in Gorgona, and by extension neighbouring communities such as Coronado.
On the surface this appeared to be a targeted crime against the expat community. But, it runs much deeper than that.
In recent months there have been several crimes against locals (non expats) that live and work in Gorgona. Two of the Chinese-owned stores have been robbed and several local Panamanians have been attacked.
Thankfully, the police have made a number of arrests in regard to all of these crimes. Jim Rizik, a Gorgona home owner, and Frank Marcheski, owner of La Ruina Restaurante, have been in close contact with the police and have been brokering communication with the residents of the community.
"It takes only a small percentage of the community to make a whole community look bad," explains Jim, a retired police officer. "The police did a great job apprehending these individuals and need to be commended. The community as a whole needs a pat on the back for helping in these apprehensions."
Apparently, this was a "gang" from outside Gorgona whose M.O. was to rent a house in town, identify easy targets and work at night.
Once information and evidence came to police they began to stake out the area. After the home invasion they worked quickly and began receiving more tips from locals. When the criminals were caught red-handed they began running through Gorgona. It is important to note that the locals helped point the police in the right direction. The word spread faster than they could run and the criminals were apprehended - at this time six arrests have been made.
Frank's wife Dilcia, is from Gorgona. He's a long-time resident and she's the business owner.
"There can't be any finger pointing toward so many good and loyal families that suffer alongside us," he says. "These criminals are not from Gorgona and don't represent this community.
"Believe me, the Gorgona locals are tired of being labled a 'Red-Zone', and treated as such. These crimes come from outside," Frank adds.
A small group of residents led by Frank and Jim are continuing to talk with the local police and will be meeting with the captain at the Chame Detective Bureau in the near future.
They are trying to organize a wider community meeting at La Ruina over the weekend. The goal of these meetings is to set-up neighborhood vigilance, bring everyone together – locals, expats and business owners – and to address the issues while finding common ground.
Details of the meeting will be posted at the Chinese stores and around the community, as well as, on Playa Community as soon as they become available.
Last Updated on Thursday, 25 October 2012 09:15