My Mexican Travel Security Ordeal

Mexico has made the news over and over due to their “Narco Wars”. 10’s of thousands have been murdered and kidnapped in many of the border towns all the way down to Acapulco. So where do I vacation? Mexico. It’s an easy trip, its economically smart, it’s usually warm and sunny, the foods good, the people are great, and there’s always a good story to tell. I do my homework and understand where the risks are and aren’t.

I don’t stay in the border towns. That’s where a lot of the bad stuff is happening. Border towns are mostly landlocked, so no ocean, and there isn’t much as far as vacationing goes. We like the beaches and prefer southern resort towns that cater to making me happy.

In my last Mexican adventure we were picked up at the airport by a car service recommended by the hotel. I usually get in the front seat so I can see where we are going and I like to have a little control. I put my laptop and backpack up front with me, but then the wife asked me to come to the back seat, which I did. But there was no room for the bags, so they stayed up front. The van was clean, and the ride was the typical white knuckler, hold on for dear life, the driver is a nut, and when was the last time this thing had its brakes checked.”

When we got to the resort we were swarmed with hotel help/bellmen pulling our bags out of the van. As I’m counting bags and counting kids and on my way back to the van to get my 2 other bags, the van drove away. My laptop and backpack were still in the front seat. ON THE FRONT SEAT. There is no way the driver didn’t see the laptop on the front seat. I frantically went to the bellman to call the security dude at the entrance to the property to stop the van. Ten minutes goes by and they said he must have gone another way because he never went back through security.

I got the car service on the phone to call the driver and they said he wasn’t answering his phone. Of course he wasn’t answering his phone, he was selling my laptop. 20 minutes goes by and I fear he’s got this thing hocked. Then another driver from the same company pulled into the resorts entrance and I flagged him down. I told him to call the driver and tell him I left 2 bags in the van. He called, the driver picked up the phone. Nailed. He answered for his buddy but not his boss.

He showed up 20 minutes later. When he pulled up he was dismissive and rude. He knows he was “caught” but didn’t even offer a response. My laptop was now on the front floor of the van, the bag had been gone through and the backpack was in the back seat of the van. He obviously tossed it there.

I never told resort security, the bellman or the car service over the phone that “my bags” that were in the van consisted of a laptop. But when resort security and the bellman saw me pull the laptop out, they all nodded their heads shaking them and proceeded to understand why he drove off.

Moral of the story: if you don’t want it stolen, don’t leave it out of your site. Because any opportunity to distract you and take your stuff, the bad guy will.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to ADT Home Security Source discussing Home Security and Identity Theft on TBS Movie and a Makeover. Disclosures.

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