Skip to comments.Surfer's Baja Tale Is Warning To Others (American Tourists Robbed And Raped In Mexico)
Posted on 11/19/2007 11:16:35 AM PST by DogByte6RER
Surfer's Baja tale is warning to others
Camping trip ended in robbery, assault
By Terry Rodgers
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
November 19, 2007
Pat Weber didn't plan on being part of a crime trend that has generated worldwide buzz this past week, but he didn't have much choice.
The Encinitas resident and surfing instructor got lost on a dirt road in Baja California last month while looking for a surfing spot called Cuatro Casas. He and his girlfriend decided to park for the night on a bluff overlooking the ocean.
Just after sundown, two men wearing ski masks approached Weber's motor home and ordered him to come out. He refused but surrendered after they fired a bullet through a window.
The assailants held a gun to Weber's head while they ransacked the motor home and took about $10,000 worth of items. They also sexually assaulted his girlfriend, Weber said.
It is the policy of The San Diego Union-Tribune not to identify victims of sexual crimes.
The Oct. 23 attack was one of at least six armed robberies and carjackings in the past five months that targeted surfers en route to camping spots in northern Baja. Some of the victims reported their experiences to the police, while others posted their stories on surfing and travel Web sites.
The Union-Tribune published details of the crimes Wednesday. Since then, blogs and TV and radio stations based everywhere from Southern California to Australia have covered the topic.
They have featured tourists who never encountered trouble in Baja and those who stopped visiting the peninsula's remote, picturesque beaches because of crimes that happened 10 or 20 years ago. A few included safety tips ahead of the Thanksgiving vacation stretch.
On Friday, a crew from CNN came to town to produce a segment about what Weber and his girlfriend went through.
I'm not asking for sympathy, said Weber, who said he went public to warn other travelers.
Weber said feels guilty that he couldn't defend his girlfriend, and he keeps second-guessing himself about the decision to camp in an isolated area. His sleep has been fitful, and he often feels a knot of emotions.
I'm like a piñata on wheels, loaded up and ready to be smashed open, he said.
Despite the trauma, Weber is thankful to be alive. (The gunmen) had all the cards, he said. It could have ended 100 different ways much worse.
Weber, 47, had logged more than 500 days in Baja and has taken dozens of students there over the past 10 years. Now he vows to never return.
I can't in good conscience take someone down there and say it's safe, because it's not, he said. For me, this is the end of an era.
On Friday, Weber invited friends and past students to a surfing session and potluck lunch at South Carlsbad State Beach, the home base for his San Diego Surfing Academy.
Weber said the group hug, his term for the event, will help heal his mental and emotional wounds. It's part of my catharsis, he said. I'm still numb and reeling from the experience. It's like a bad dream.
When the CNN crew showed up, Weber pointed out the bullet hole in his motor home.
That, I'm not going to get fixed, he said. I'm just going to plug it with a cork from a wine bottle.
Amid the rising concern about what some surfers see as sophisticated, paramilitary-style crimes in Baja, longtime visitors to the peninsula said tourists can take steps to reduce their chances of becoming victims.
They advised people to travel in caravans of two or more vehicles and to stay in campgrounds that have security guards. Some surfers urged campers to bring a dog and said it's a good idea to have a cell phone or rent a satellite phone.
When in Mexico at a remote site, you are vulnerable and you need to pay attention, said Kent Layton, who operates a fenced-in surf camp at Cuatro Casas called the Boat Ranch. Be proactive. Have a plan, and whenever possible, leave yourself an out.
Layton also recommends that travelers leave a copy of their itinerary with friends and family members.
Yep, and so is the North Shore of Oahu.
Mexican corruption and arrogance,coming to a school board, county commission,police department,library, mayors office, congress seat, senate seat, etc.. I have often wondered how long before the Invaders begin to administrate the west and other regions with their beautiful culture of corruption.One day soon you’ll have to bribe your way from Texas to California when all the cops are expecting their cultures due.
Now you’re talking. Maui, though, is still the most beautiful place that I’ve ever seen.
Bermuda’s closer. :)
I think I read about a cop that just some ammo in his trunk and was thrown in jail?
Truly paradise, neve been to kaui but hear that's nice as well.
I’m sorry, but I feel zero sympathy for this duck.
and none for his girlfriend, either? You know, the one that actually was sexually assaulted?
LOL. I love it when news stories such as this become entirely fictional when told through the lens of someone who was not there.
Never heard of a crime of opportunity, eh?
In which country aren’t tourists robbed and/or killed? Unless the criminals were law officers, this isn’t really news, is it?
I actually did that once. I was in the Army and moving from Monterey, CA to Louisiana.
Anyhow, my car was loaded down with household crap to include a .22 rifle buried under it all in the backseat.
Not paying attention, traffic, etc., somehow ended up getting off I-10 in El Paso and boom, went across the border into Mexico.
Pretty much took the first u-turn I could find and headed back where our own Customs/BP folks stopped me and asked how long I'd been in Mexico and had any plants with me. (LOL!)Said I'd been there about 5 mins and no plants.
And that was it. Scared ********.
The numbers are likely right. South Africa is a First World country (no thanks to the ANC). Dead bodies have to be autopsied where natural causes seem unlikely (i.e. cadavers in cars sporting bullet holes).
“longtime visitors to the peninsula said tourists can take steps to reduce their chances of becoming victims.”
Tip #1. Don’t go to Mexico.
Beautiful picture. What you don’t see are the lines of raw sewerage that typically run into any body of nearby water.
I’ve been down there enough times to see the filth and squalor that goes on behind the curtain. No more, and no more of my tourist money.
If itâs such a swell place, and if the Mex. Govât knew what the h%$# end was up ... they would develop the place and make some money off the people the thugs victimizing.
I know that place rather well. The river runs pretty clean. The time you have to worry is when it turns from dry season (winter) to rainy season (summer). When the first heavy rains come it gets dirty for a bit then cleans up. The rest of the Summer it's very clean.
“Maui, though, is still the most beautiful place that Ive ever seen”
Maui is alittle too far to fly from the East coast though.
Bermuda is very nice, but very crowded.
British Virgin Islands are still my favorite.
I have heard Costa Rica and Belize are nice though.
However, I am in total agreement on Ol’ Mexico. I will NEVER go back.
Although fer sure not as pretty.......
Same thing happening to the thugs in uniform here.