Seventy Mormon missionaries in Torreón, Coahuila, were robbed by armed men last Friday.
The attackers, who the church’s spokesperson Sam Pernod said in a statement entered a church meetinghouse in the Ampliación Los Ángeles neighborhood, demanded cell phones, tablets, watches and wallets from the 57 men and 13 women of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Mission president Alfredo Zanudo and his wife Guadalupe were threatened with a knife. Some missionaries in the group were hit and kicked, but no one required medical attention, Penrod said.
Penrod added that the men were carrying guns but did not say that they were used to threaten the missionaries.
The head of the local Attorney General’s Office, Maurilio Ochoa Rivera, said that the assailants’ movements had been tracked after they tried to withdraw money using a stolen bank card.
Torreón’s Chief of Police Manuel Pineda Rangel said the crime was the first of its kind, according to police records. “We checked the crime statistics, and there are no reports of a similar event,” he said.
He added that patrols would be increased around religious sites and places where large groups gather to avoid any further large-scale robberies.
Penrod said that the Church of Latter-day Saints was taking additional precautions.
“Missionaries have been removed from the area where the incident occurred and instructed to be extra cautious. A church security officer is in Torreón to evaluate the situation,” he said. “Our prayers are with these missionaries and their families as they recover from this frightening and traumatic experience.”
With reports from Milenio