Sunday, April 30, 2017

"Amid hungry, violent looting, Venezuelan shopkeepers fortify their businesses"

In one of the most high-profile cases earlier this month, authorities said as many as 11 people died in a single night of looting in Caracas. While the numbers vary, it appears at least seven were electrocuted while trying to rob a bakery called La Mayer del Pan.

At the time, there was speculation that the store had been booby-trapped with an electric fence or that a power-line had fallen. But the truth is more mundane, said Jose de Freitas, the store’s 34-year-old manager.

He said the night of April 20, armed gangs descended from the surrounding barrios to start sacking stores. They forced the bakery’s doors open with crowbars and emptied the shelves and the warehouse. He said the bakery had not been rigged to purposefully harm anyone.

“The people died because they tried to steal a coffee maker that was full of water,” he explained. “When the plug was pulled it made contact with the water, and because we have stainless steel furniture, it made a big circuit and, well, they were electrocuted.”