The Bolivian buses of death

It looked just like an ordinary bus.

An older man named Macario left his house at 4:00 am in El Alto, Bolivia. He was on his way to the bank to collect his monthly pension. He got on a small 16-passenger bus. His 25-cent fare was collected, as it usually was, by an indigenous woman. He sat in the front seat.

Suddenly he saw a blue scarf flung over his head. It was pulled tightly against his neck. He fought back, but someone hit him in the ribs and face. He passed out.

He woke up in a dumpster. His cell phone and money were gone.

He was lucky.

A gang of thieves was running fake buses between 4 and 6 in the morning, when legitimate buses are scarce and there are few police on the streets. The driver, fare-taker and any passengers on the bus were all members of the gang. They cruised El Alto looking for people to rob. Victims would be strangled with a rope or scarf and stripped of their valuables and clothes. Then they would be dumped off the bus.

Some of the victims were dumped alive, and some were strangled to death.

Police arrested eight members of the gang and seized four buses. They estimate that the gang might have killed 69 people over 13 months.

Bolivia police: stranglers lured victims on buses, Associated Press, Google>>


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