As Costa Rica recovers from a 7.9 earthquake that occurred on September 5, 2012 and numerous aftershocks, people are also having to contend with heartless thieves preying on their fear.
The country’s National Emergency Commission is reporting that several ‘street’ bandits are driving through the streets of Guanacaste, Liberia and Cobano announcing via loudspeaker that they must evacuate their homes immediately because “the Big One” is coming. The thieves are claiming another earthquake is coming with a tsunami to follow in hopes that people will leave their homes allowing them to burglarize them.
This fear was present when the country felt the strongest aftershock thus far, measuring 5.6 on Saturday afternoon. Rumors were running wild that in fact the government was calling for an evacuation when it was the bandits, many ran to the local mountainside.
The Costa Rican government is urging all of its residents to only listen to government issued notices and remain in their homes.
The country has experienced 1,000 aftershocks and over 350 people remain in shelters. The majority of damage to homes occurred near the epicenter at Samara and areas along the Pacific coast.