Photos from 1+ year trip around world -- PERUVIAN POLICE STORY!

Joined
Apr 23, 2009
Messages
432
Location
Atlanta, Georgia
28 January 2011

One the night of 23 January 2011 Thomas (my Dutch friend) and I were sleeping alone side with two other solo travelers: one from Argentina and the other from Turkey. I realized, when I had woken up the next morning, that my camera (D700), memory cards(5 8gb extreme IV's), ipod, lens(24-70), gps, and tripod plate(feisol) had all been stolen from my bag. We had been situated in the middle of absolutely nowhere Peru sleeping in an empty shack that protected us from the freezing rain. By this time, we were about 1.5 days into a grueling 4-5 day trekking called the Salkantay trek. This trek has been named one of the top 25 treks in the world by National Geographic.

We decided to continue down the path towards Macchu Pichu so that we could ask any indigenous that lived there who they had seen coming up the path in the opposite direction the same day that we had been robbed. Every person told us that they had seen three people with the last name Quintanas. We had asked about 5 people and everybody said the same last name. We arrived one day later into a town called Santa Teresa that had a few police officers and we notified the police that we had our gear stolen and they wrote up a report.

I then called a friend Thomas and I had made in Mollepata (where we started our trek) and asked him to ask around town exactly whom of the Quintanas had been in the trek that day we were ropped. He quickly sent me three names Walter, Samuel, and Santos Quintana.

Now that we had the three first names and the last name, we quickly ran through Macchu Pichu and made our way back into Cusco where all the confusion started, if it hadn’t already. By this point, 4 days had already passed.

We arrived in Cusco and I talked again with my friend from Mollepata, as he had just arrived in Cusco for work. He called a friend of his from the National Police and he told me that I had to talk to the police in a town called Anta, about 30 minutes away from Cusco. I went there the next day after figuring out how I could get there. I talked to the police. The police told me that they couldn’t do anything for me and I needed to go back to the Tourism Police located in Cusco. I then went back into Cusco and talked to the Tourism Police. The Tourism Police told me that they had nothing to do with this case and they could only help with cases that are situated within the city limits of Cusco. I was then told by then that I needed to bring my police report into Mollepata and they would help me there.

I then hopped into a taxi late in the afternoon and took the 2 hour ride into Mollepata to talk to the Police located there. I arrived at 3:00pm and was told that the police from Mollepata couldn’t help me. They searched around, made about 100 photocopies of laws written in notebooks while I sat there and listened to them saying that they have to be “extremely careful with this case” for whatever reason. They then notified me that I needed to go back to the Tourism Police and they will be able to help me. I was to obtain an “orden” myself in order to enter the houses of the suspects. Without this, they can’t do anything for me. “The Tourism Police are going to be able to give this to you”, they told me.

I demanded with just about every last bit of energy that I had that the police give me another document in writing with their formal identifications on it and exactly what I needed to bring to the Tourism Police and exactly what I needed to say to them in writing. They gave this to me after about an hour and a half of typing it up on an old 60’s style typewriter.

I then took the last car that was leaving Mollepata that night into Cusco and brought the certificate from Santa Teresa and the new documented the police from Mollepata had given me. During the ride, I met 2 women that wanted to help me out. After another 2 hours of riding in the car, we arrived in Cusco and one of the women accompanied me to the Tourism Police of Cusco to visit them once again. As I entered the police office, a woman who I had talked to earlier that day recognized me as I came in and laughed, obviously realizing that I was back again for the second time.

We arrived there and they had told me exactly what I thought they would: “I’m sorry, we can’t help you, even with these two documents that you have”. Here’s what you have to do: “Stay here in Cusco tonight, and leave first thing tomorrow morning to Anta again to talk to Judge”.

At this point, I had had enough of the run around. The woman that accompanied me told me that I could stay with her and her family for the night. We went to her house in Cusco and all sat down with her family as I told them the story. Of course, they all felt extremely bad for what had happened and were incredibly hospitable. Its really surprising that just as you begin to curse humanity as a whole for consequence of just a few bad people, others from the opposite spectrum of those that robbed you come out of the middle of nowhere and open up their home and their lives to help in any way possible.

I left for Anta the next morning by 9pm with the women whose house I had slept in and we arrived at the judge’s office. We arrived at the judge’s office and I felt as though finally, I was with somebody that knew what they were talking about and exactly what we needed to do to sort everything out. He then told me that they could not issue me an orden for the police to enter the houses with the documents that I had brought because the documents stated that my things were stolen in another jurisdiction. Directly after all hope was lost, he told me that they were going to type up another document that was going to lie and say that we were robbed in Mollepata and with this document we were going to be able to present to a Judge in order to issue an ‘orden’ to enter the houses.

The judge issued the warrant to enter two houses and after searching for everything, nothing was found. Unfortunately, I’ve worked an entire week discovering the Peruvian penal system and have come up empty handed.
Dealing with police officers, judges, and lawyers may seem easy in your own country, but when you’re in the mountain regions of any country, where communication is non-existent, for the modern equipment the police have consists of a type writer and its newly purchased ink, your hopes quickly dim.

It was an experience I’ll never forget for its negative aspects, but passing situations such as this only make one a more chiseled problem solver in the face of impossible odds.
 
Joined
Oct 3, 2010
Messages
24,013
Location
Cooper City, FL
Anthony, I loved the pictures! A trip of a lifetime. As far as your story, anyone can book a trip and stay at the Sheridan. For what it's worth, this is an experience in your life you will never forget! After all, look at the story you just got to write! Thanks for sharing!
 

LyndeeLoo

Administrator
Administrator
Joined
May 19, 2008
Messages
29,408
Location
St. Louis, Missouri
What a story, Anthony!

First and foremost, I'm glad you and your friend are safe; that's the most important thing. Second, don't let this experience affect you in a negative sense. You are on the trip of a lifetime, and as Dossy said, it's an experience you will never forget.

Stay safe and hope to see more images soon!!
 
Joined
Jul 3, 2010
Messages
1,905
Location
USA
Are you in Cusco still? If so you need to find the electronics market and see if your camera is there.

Do you have a serial number or anyway to identify your stuff?

I am going to a market in lima tomorrow and can look. Its common hot gear of your quality will end up in lima at one of the markets
 
Joined
Jul 3, 2010
Messages
1,905
Location
USA
If you find your gear in a market do not just take it. Buy it with a credit card(most these markets actually take them now if they are selling a D700), and then when you leave call your card company and dispute it as a fraudulent charge. You will definitely win the dispute. It screws over the vendor but they take those chances dealing with hot gear
 
Joined
Jul 3, 2010
Messages
1,905
Location
USA
one last thing. Check mercadolibre.com it is perus ebay type site and it is very popular for camera gear. Your gear is nice and expensive, the first guys might dump for a couple hundred but after that people will know its value. It is not easy to sell in peru just anywhere, it likely will go through the main markets or that website
 
Joined
Apr 23, 2009
Messages
432
Location
Atlanta, Georgia
Anthony, I loved the pictures! A trip of a lifetime. As far as your story, anyone can book a trip and stay at the Sheridan. For what it's worth, this is an experience in your life you will never forget! After all, look at the story you just got to write! Thanks for sharing!

THanks so much...I had to buy new gear with insurance money, but we're back on track now.

What a story, Anthony!

First and foremost, I'm glad you and your friend are safe; that's the most important thing. Second, don't let this experience affect you in a negative sense. You are on the trip of a lifetime, and as Dossy said, it's an experience you will never forget.

Stay safe and hope to see more images soon!!

It definitely is a trip of a life time...thanks for all the kind words!

Are you in Cusco still? If so you need to find the electronics market and see if your camera is there.

Do you have a serial number or anyway to identify your stuff?

I am going to a market in lima tomorrow and can look. Its common hot gear of your quality will end up in lima at one of the markets

hey there...The serials of my D700 is 2048227. The 24-70 f/2.8 is US 234951. If you by any chance are looking around the markets, PLEASE still have a look...who knows if they are just now selling it or not.

If you find your gear in a market do not just take it. Buy it with a credit card(most these markets actually take them now if they are selling a D700), and then when you leave call your card company and dispute it as a fraudulent charge. You will definitely win the dispute. It screws over the vendor but they take those chances dealing with hot gear

Thanks...I checked ALL the black markets and even had all my peruvian friends go with me and pose as buyers. Nobody found anything. I checked as Polvos Azules in Lima too for my stuff...nobody found anything.

one last thing. Check mercadolibre.com it is perus ebay type site and it is very popular for camera gear. Your gear is nice and expensive, the first guys might dump for a couple hundred but after that people will know its value. It is not easy to sell in peru just anywhere, it likely will go through the main markets or that website

Checked Mercado libre too..but will check again even many months afterwards...thanks!
 
Joined
Apr 29, 2010
Messages
302
Location
CA
Sorry to hear that bad things happened to your camera gear. But the most important things were you got the story, the photos, and it seemed that you were able to buy back those via insurance, and you were safe.
 

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