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Dear Bandidos:

It has been almost two weeks since you have entered our house through a door that we left open for you and I now can write to you to express my gratitude.

Yes, I want to thank you for violating our home without disrupting our sleep .I want to thank you for not entering our bedroom, even though the door was open, and wake us up to open the safe for you or rummage through our closets and drawers.

You have missed a few things by not coming in into our inner sanctum, some valuable and some just interesting. You could have discovered my stash of sandalwood and frankincense, my Cuban cigars and other smokeables and my cameras. I shiver just at the thought of it.

My iPad was on my night table and you could have seen it if you had taken a peek over the stack of books but thank you for your discretion and kind consideration, for those first few hours of sleep are the only sleep I get these days and as you must have realized, I sleep soundly.

You overlooked my wallet on the desk and thank you for that because it had my resident visa, health card and other banking cards. It was quite an ordeal the following morning to cancel the ones you took with my phone but I wish you had left my driver’s license because it was a 3 visits exasperating experience to get a new one. Now I have a new one that allows me to drive until I am almost 79, something to look forward to.

I thank you for offering me the opportunity to visit the dreaded ministerio publico, a place where, we were told, one wastes long hours for the only benefit of helping crime statistics. It was not all that bad, really. We only spent 2 and half hours and the officers were courteous and professional. I did cringe every time I described a stolen item; a description void of feeling, bare of circumstances and memories of loved ones long gone. Yes, some things can be replaced but others have only one significance in one’s lifetime. The officers who came to visit us the following day couldn’t do much because we had contaminated the crime scene but they were also very polite and considerate with us and with the neighbors they went to visit.

I want to also thank you for giving me the opportunity to acquire a phone I have been coveting for more than a year. Mind you, I do resent having had to deal with the cellular phone company and its robotic employees and obsolete procedures. Why send me back home to look for the original contact when you have it on your screen? I will add that to my Mexican life vignettes along with banks’ customer service and other bureaucratic adventures.

My new bank debit card is temperamental and would only pay for certain things and not others, independently of the amount. It is not recognized by customer service on the phone but allows me to withdraw cash at the machine in town.

I need to thank you also for allowing me to get a new computer with a bigger screen than my 13-inch laptop. I have wanted one for quite a while because, as I am getting older, I have a hard time working on documents and photos on a small screen. Now I REALLY want to thank you for having disconnected my back up device and left it on the desk. It had all the documents I am working on including my timid attempts at writing poetry and other scribbling. It had also my photos which cover many years, many places and many events and I would be devastated if I had lost them, so thank you, thank you, thank you.

Now to conclude, I want to say how grateful I am to be living in this wonderful community. I have had so many messages offering comfort and help through Face Book and emails that I feel elated despite what happened and how would I have had such a display of friendship if you, dear banditos, had not robbed me?

So you will forgive me if I share my thoughts with my community because in truth I want to be selfish and do not want any one else to experience what my wife and I lived through.

Dear friends and neighbors: we have lived here for 17 years and we were robbed three times because we had left a door or a window open, like we did this time. San Miguel has changed as our respective hometowns have changed so, please, exercise caution and take basic common sense measures to protect yourselves and your homes. Our town has become a destination for tourists from various parts of the country and from different countries of the world but has also become a magnet for the predators that follow the scent of success.

Success comes with a price and that price comes in multiple facets, crime being only one of them, and the residents of San Miguel are footing the bill.


Ali Zerriffi


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