Robbery at Abrazos
By Jade Arroyo
On April 9, the boutique Abrazos, located at Zacateros 24, was robbed in the middle of the afternoon. The robbers were a middle-aged couple (a Mexican man and American woman) who were nicely dressed and seemed completely innocent. They pretended to be about to buy something from the store, and when paying for the item the employee wrote up the receipt and the man handed her two 500-peso bills. As the employee was getting the change from the cash box, the robber came around the desk behind her, removed a gun from a black shoulder bag that was strapped across his chest, and demanded all the money in the cash box, amounting to all the sales from that day and the previous day. The young Mexican employee was emotionally traumatized by the assault.
Abrazos opened in January 2010 and offers a line of more than 30 products made by local seamstresses featuring Mexican-themed fabrics. The store’s owner, Patrice Wynne, who has lived in San Miguel for 13 years, gave an exclusive interview to Atención.
Jade Arroyo: Have you already filed a complaint at the Ministerio Público?
Patrice Wynne: I went alone on Friday, the twelfth of April, because the robbery traumatized the employee badly. She would not leave her home to file the demanda.
JA: Is this the first time you have been a victim of robbery?
PW: No. Unfortunately, I have been the victim of too many crimes in Mexico. In the last three years I have experienced credit card fraud, an unarmed robbery at Abrazos soon after we opened, a major theft of all of my electronics and purse in Nayarit, theft in Mexico City of my computer, and now this armed robbery in San Miguel. Each year at the International Living Conference in the Riviera Maya I speak on starting and running a business in Mexico. When asked about crime in Mexico and its reputation as being dangerous and crime-ridden, I have always come to Mexico’s defense, comparing it to crime in the US. This year it will be difficult to speak in positive terms about how safe I feel living here.
JA: Have you had support from the community and the local government?
PW: I did a cable interview at Canal 4. Many people wrote compassionate emails to me. I posted a description of the robbery on Mayor Trejo’s Facebook page. He replied, “No matter how much time it takes me, I am going to arrest these thieves.” I am very pleased by his quick and strong reply. I hope he keeps his promise and that no one else is harmed. I’m installing cameras in the store for the safety of our employees and customers, and women employees will no longer work alone. We all feel violated at Abrazos. And we are very concerned for the young woman and her well-being. If anyone knows of a government office or counselor that provides treatment for traumatic stress, please contact me at email@example.com.