The CICPC’s anti-kidnapping division says 144 express kidnappings were reported in Caracas during 2008.
But CICPC estimates only one out of every four express abductions is reported, which implies that about 576 express kidnappings happened last year in Caracas.
However, CICPC admits its estimate of reported vs. unreported abductions is just a guess… “un estimado, nada empirico.”
*CICPC data on the 144 express kidnappings reported in 2008 indicate that 95% of the victims were driving brand new vehicles (2008 models).
*The kidnappers are “fishing” for victims, so they snatch drivers (and passengers) of new vehicles and then determine the “market value” of individual victims.
*90% of the reported express kidnappings occurred between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. in eastern Caracas.
*Typically, the kidnappers force victims to draw funds from their ATM’s, cash checks at drive-through windows and often hold many victims for several hours while additional cash ransoms are negotiated with the families of the victims.
*Some criminals who specialize in express kidnappings dress casually but well, and some even drive late model vehicles, because they hunt for victims at night clubs, restaurants, etc. Some are known to have a university education.
*Other criminals disguise themselves as police and set up fake checkpoints where late model vehicles and express kidnap victims are picked at random.
*Some express kidnappers snatch victims which are “sold” for a fee to other gangs which negotiate ransoms with the families.
*CICPC says known express kidnapping gangs are based in Turumo, 23 de Enero, La Pastora and the old Los Teques road.
CICPC apparently knows a great deal about several of these express abduction gangs, having captured 14 gang members and killed two between December 2008 and February 2009.
But the CICPC appears incapable of disrupting or even slowing the daily kidnapping activities of these gangs.
A CICPC anti-kidnapping detective tells Caracas Gringo the division is understaffed and underequipped. And he hints there also is a political angle to the business: “Some of these kidnappers are protected politically.”