Theft Thursday – Canadian Couple Surives The Ultimate Theft Attempt

The Toronto Sun reported on Monday about Jack and Eileen Appleton surviving a harrowing robbery attempt in Mexico as they were returning from a winter of camping in Mexico. Mr. Appleton is apparently a retired Mountie, while Mrs. Appleton is a retired Toronto Police officer. What happened? And what can RVers learn?

The Appletons handled the situation as smartly as possible in our opinion, but they were still very vulnerable. From reports we have read, here are the things they did right:

  1. The Appletons used their RV defensively. A vehicle is a powerful weapon – especially an RV. The Appletons knew this from their police training, and acted accordingly.
  2. The Appletons tried to put distance between themselves and their attackers – and to get to a public place. In this instance, the Appletons went to a gasoline station.
  3. The Appletons complied with their attackers, but when they had no other choice. Compliance is very tricky and if you are traveling in a dangerous area, you should study it. We’re not experts in dealing with drug gang hostage situations!

What are some takeaways RV owners can glean from this situation?

  1. When traveling internationally:
    1. US Citizens should check State Department Travel Advisories – especially when going into Mexico.
    2. Canadian Citizens should check with The Office of Foreign and International Trade.
  2. Your RV is a target of opportunity for criminals. They see an RV as a sign of money, they see it as a non-secure easily entered space, and they know you are at least temporarily living in it.
  3. Be aware of your surroundings. The Appletons found a public area to pull into. That may very well be the reason they are alive.

One point of interest: The Appleton’s were robbed of the camera they used to snap pictures of their attackers, and the Mexican government does not seem interested in prosecuting the criminals who perpetrated the attack. The RV Security System sends all videos it records offsite to our secure servers in the US and in Europe, so if it is stolen prosecution is still normally possible.

Please, don’t be scared to RV. Attacks like this are rare (though both the US and Canadian governments advise citizens to NOT travel along the Mexican border right now). We’re glad the Appletons were not killed or physically hurt in this ambush and we hope that their experience will help others prepare mentally for the unthinkable and unlikely events like this that rarely happen.