Ecuador: Expat from Chicago tells story of home invasion at beach home, near Bahia de Caraquez

Posted on October 9, 2012 • Filed under: Crime, Ecuador, TRAVEL

Author: Deborah Brookhart
Expat from Chicago tells her story of a home invasion in Ecuador
Ecuador news – Saturday night/Sunday morning around 12:30-1 AM our house was broken into while we were asleep.

I was sleeping in Sarah’s room (since she is afraid to sleep there alone, and now I’m GLAD she wasn’t in there) and someone came in through our hallway windows, right off the front porch. The property’s “guard” who lives in the shack near our house and is paid by the builder I guess (he had previously asked if he could work for us directly, but we’d told him we could not afford to pay a guard), had gone to Bahia for the night, which he had done before.

It was 2 Ecuadorean guys with guns, and a 3rd guy with a ski mask on. I screamed loudly, over and over again and was fighting with them to leave me alone, since they came into the room and covered my mouth with their hands. Our dog, sleeping with Sarah and Robert, never barked once, which makes us think he knew the person in the ski mask. Evidently when I grabbed at one of their cross necklaces, they decided to hit me on the on the head with their gun, and get me to shut up. They came to the master BR to tell Robert to get me to shut up. Robert dragged me into the bathroom, where we were able to lock the robbers out with great effort of them trying to get in to make us give them money and the car keys.


We told them we didn’t have any money and we never told them where the keys were, we tried telling them it wasn’t our car, but they went right to the place where we keep our keys and got them. They stole Robert’s change purse which had over 5.00 in it, but they didn’t take the money out of his wallet, which was 2 twenties. They took Robert’s old laptop, but did not take 2 newer laptops close by under the coffee table. We looked out the window they’d broken in from, and we saw our car driving away. They escaped in our car with our 50” plasma tv , the Bose wave radio, Robert’s (late/old) laptop, my classic silver ipod with purple skin cover , both Kodak cameras , 2 cell phones (Samsung Solstice and Sony Ericsson Experia) and a bag of my jewelry including my grandmother’s rosary beads.

Since they’d taken our phones except for Sarah’s cheapie Claro phone, which had almost no money on it, Robert walked to the neighbor’s house on the road but she wouldn’t do anything…either she couldn’t understand Robert or didn’t want to get involved. Eventually, after Robert got disconnected from San Vicente police, he came back home and used his tablet to put a message on Facebook that I needed to go to the hospital because I had a head injury. Henry Wonsey (the expat American firefighter in Bahia)’s wife Anna, called Sarah’s phone since we couldn’t call her and she talked to Robert while Henry was calling the SV fire dept. and asking why they hadn’t gotten to us yet…the fire department finally got there and made a stretcher from tree trunks and our blanket, and the SV police took me to the hospital in Leonidas Plaza.

I got 7 stitches in the back of my head, 5 stitches in my arm and I have a concussion since I’m dizzy and nauseous (the ER did not do Xrays, just stitched my head and arm up). Robert’s FB message is on the Facebook group “Ruta del Sol”, if you want to look at it and people’s responses. They also broke my glasses, which I’m blind without, so I have to try to get another pair or see if they can fix my broken ones. The SV police came by the house around 10a Sunday morning to have Robert pick the car up….it was found abandoned. The police gave Robert a letter stating the car had been found abandoned, and it wasn’t trashed, thank God.

Right after Robert went and got the car, a lady named Consuela from the Red Cross came to talk to us and tell us she would pick us up the next day at 7:15a to come to file a report with the police, etc. We went there today and was there for a few hours, only to find out we’d have to come back in the afternoon. While we were there, however, my school’s administration and one of the English teachers had gone to our house to see me, but the guard told him where we were, so they came up to the police to see me. They wanted me to know that they were there for us and for me to take as long as I needed, which really made me feel good.

We went with a detective to the San Vicente public health clinic so they could make an official report of my injuries, since the Bahia ER did not give me any paperwork, meds, or anything to bring home. They looked at my stitches, made a report and gave me scripts for mild pain meds and an antibiotic for 10 days, which they gave to me at the pharmacy inside the clinic. We went home to eat, then went to see our friends Bob & Susan Ambrose in Bahia, who gave us a cell phone to use, and some money they’d collected for us. Then we had to go back to the police place to file the report.

The whole time we were busy with the police (almost all day), we had a translator, Julio Cevallos from Expat Connect with us helping us….we couldn’t have done it without him. He wanted us to know that most of Ecuadorean people are good people and he wanted us to feel cared for, which we did.

I want to express my deep appreciation and thankfulness for the expat community here and others who have given us moral (and other) support: Anna & Henry Wonsey, Bob & Susan Ambrose (and the people who gave $$–I didn’t write down their names, I’m sorry), Larry Pioli, Donald & Diane Murray, Jeff Lomax, Julio Cevallos, Kelsey Gottschalk and Marcus Chiliusa, Consuelo from the Red Cross, the people at my job Unidad Educativa Interamericano-Bahia, Sheryl Pender and anyone else who has expressed good thoughts towards us in this very difficult time.

It is very interesting to me that everyone in the US, especially my blood family, is calling me a bad mother to Sarah for not IMMEDIATELY jumping on a plane back to the US. My sons, sister and parents have told me what I SHOULD be doing and if I don’t follow through, I’m negligent and “disowned”. So I definitely am overwhelmed by the kindness of practically “strangers”, so to speak, and I so very much appreciate it.

We have also had the admonition that “well, you didn’t have window bars, electric fence, or anything else at all, so this is what happens if you don’t prepare in advance”. Also, I’ve been told that I shouldn’t have put up a fight. Hindsight is 20/20, and no one knows how they will react until you face the situation yourself.
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Ecuador: Family from Chicago living near Bahia de Caraquez, victims of home invasion – assault

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