My recent experience in Aruba:
On September 22, 2009, my private home was burglarized while I was on the island and out for dinner. Upon our arrival back from dinner, I noticed that the front door was open. Given that I am a Lieutenant of Police with over twenty years of service and my brother, a retired United States Federal Officer - We knew that our home had been burglarized.
The burglars attempted to enter my home through a rear window with a red crowbar but were unsuccessful (I know it was red because the crowbar left a paint transfer on the outside window). They did than attempt to pry open my rear roll down security gate and were again unsuccessful (One of the suspects did leave several finger prints on the gate which were eventually lifted and submitted into evidence). They did than proceed to my wooden front door where entry was made by prying out two locks.
I called the police and waited for their response. Upon talking with the officers, it was learned that three (3) other private homes in my immediate area were also burglarized during the same time frame. The responding officers were extremely nice but they lacked investigative skills. I directed them to the fingerprints found on the roll down gate but they were not equipped to lift the prints. We were told we would have to wait until the following afternoon and for us not to touch anything until the following day.
After completing an inventory of all missing items and the damage caused by the burglary, the total value was in excess of $10,000 US dollars.
The following day, detectives did respond and did lift several suitable fingerprints within our home.
From this point forward, I have not received much cooperation from the police, specifically, the assigned Detective (name removed), who was assigned my case. If it was not for my persistence, I would not have found out the lead Detectives name as the officers or their superiors could not tell me the detective’s name.
After returning home to the United States, I emailed the lead Detective my serial numbers for all of my stolen electronics so that they could be entered into their national stolen item database. (It took her over one month to complete this task). I did also send her my cell phone bill, which clearly indicates that the phone was used after it was stolen from my home. The suspect did make several local phone calls in Aruba, which is a great investigative tool. As of this date, she is not acting on this lead.
I later found out through several friends in Aruba that three (3) suspects had been arrested for burglary in my immediate area. It took several emails to the lead Det. to confirm this as correct. She states that the suspects were questioned regarding my burglary but since they did not admit burglarizing my house, they could not be charged.
When I was on the island, I visited several police stations and I found out the following information, which is quite interesting and disturbing:
• All four of the burglaries that occurred in my immediate area were all tourists that own homes in Aruba.
• All four victims of the burglaries rented cars (The rental cars in Aruba all have stickers and advertisements stating the vehicles to be rentals. The license plate also indicates it is a rental by the letter "V".) The advertising on rental cars in the United States is now illegal because a tourist was targeted and killed in Florida several years ago. There is no valid reason for this advertising to continue in Aruba and have tourists targeted for crime.
• All four families left their homes around 7pm for dinner and returned back around 10pm to find their homes burglarized.
I found out the above information on my own. If I can find out this information within a few hours, there is no reason the police could not do the same.
Almost four (4) weeks ago, I did also write to the following:
1. U.S. Consulate’s Office and have not heard anything or received any type of reply.
2. Diario newspaper in Aruba and did receive a response from Nilton Larie who stated that they were very interested in my story but I have not received any further correspondence.
3. The Aruba Tourism Authority and I received a response back from Maritza Lacle who was also very interested in my story but I have not received any further correspondence.
I have since installed a security system with outdoor infrared beams, outdoor motion sensors, electronic roll down gate over the front door, internet cameras, etc. It is a shame that I had to install these security measures, but I should have known better as crime can happen anywhere in the world. I now feel extremely safe and hopefully our next visit is calm and uneventful.
I will post updates when and if, any new leads become available.
I was very hesitant to post my experience on this forum, but I think it is important for others to read my story and possibly learn from my experience.