minibus Vans and buses are popular target for robberies in the State of México.

Passengers challenge thieves, 1 man is dead

In two incidents yesterday, passengers resist highway robbery

Transit riders took on thieves in two separate incidents in the State of México yesterday, but it cost one man his life.

Two armed men boarded a minibus early yesterday morning on the Avenida José López Portillo and began demanding wallets, cell phones, cash and watches from passengers, but one decided to resist. The man was shot by the assailants and died instantly.

The incident occurred in the Santa María Cuautepec neighborhood in Tultitlán.

A similar scene unfolded yesterday afternoon on the Mexico-Querétaro highway near Cuamatla when a man and a woman boarded a bus and relieved passengers of their possessions at gunpoint.

But when the woman, who carried both the gun and the bag of loot, descended from the bus, passengers grabbed the man and prevented him from joining his partner, who presumably left the scene.

Passengers beat the man severely and left him with serious injuries. He was reported in critical condition in a hospital in Naucalpan.

Such incidents are common on that highway, particularly on a stretch between Cementos, in Tlalnepantla, to the toll booth at Tepotzotlán. Transit workers closed the highway in protest last month after one was killed on a bus operated by Autobuses Mexico Zumpango, the same company whose vehicle was involved in yesterday’s incident.

Following the earlier theft, the manager of Izgasa, operator of the combi service, demanded action by authorities to deal with insecurity on highways in the region. Axel García Aguilera said an assault takes place every day on the Avenida José López Portillo.

He said there are video surveillance cameras and panic buttons throughout the Federal District urban area and some transit vehicles even have internal cameras, but none is connected to a central control point.

“What purpose does all this equipment serve if there’s no one you can ask for help?”

García Aguilera described the installation of the cameras as “a swindle and a waste of money.”

Sources: El Universal (sp), La Jornada (sp)

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