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Three North County Kite Surfers Robbed at Gunpoint in Baja

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

U.S. law enforcement officials say three North County surfers report they were robbed at gunpoint in Tijuana over Labor Day weekend. Authorities say the thieves impersonated police and made off with about $60,000 worth of equipment. KPBS reporter Amy Isackson has the story.

The California Highway Patrol's Mexico Liason, Armando Casas, says the three men crossed the border at dawn the Friday before Labor Day to spend the long weekend kite surfing in Baja. He says the men had made it about three miles from the San Ysidro crossing, on the highway that skirts the border fence and heads out to the toll road.

Casas says that's when they were pulled over by a convoy lead by a Ford Explorer with a blue police light.

Casas : Next thing you know, there's armed men coming out of every vehicle. They all had weapons and they were bilingual. They took everybody out of the vehicles. One particular gentleman they took aside and put a gun to his head. But he emptied out his pockets, threw money at them to try to get them distracted and it worked. They shoved him aside, took off with the money and their two vehicles.

Roberto Elizalde heads Baja California's stolen vehicles unit in Tijuana. He's sure his agents will find the cars because most likely, he says, the thieves will get caught using them to commit another crime.

Elizalde says armed car robberies are common in Tijuana but U.S. tourists are rarely the victims.

Amy Isackson, KPBS News.

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