On the Friday morning preceding Labor Day, three North County San Diego surfers were carjacked at gunpoint in Tijuana by a group of "very professional" stickup men, an indication that wave riders in Baja have again become the target of criminals. Early on Sunday morning, September 9, that fear was hammered home by yet another gunpoint robbery.
After crossing the boarder on Saturday afternoon, San Diego surfers Anthony Lombardo, Brian Evans, and Greg Bishop pitched camp in the Quatro Casas area. They had settled in for the night when they were set upon by two men brandishing firearms.
“It was about midnight," said Lombardo. "I was sleeping in my tent when I thought I heard a gun shot. I unzipped my tent and that's when a guy wearing a ski mask dragged me out and forced me face-down into the sand with a gun to my head."
"They came and got Greg and I next," says Evans. "Then they forced all of us into Anthony's tent, made us lay down and started rummaging through everything."
After being relieved of their cash, wallets, driver's licenses, passports, boards, electronics, and "basically anything else that wasn't nailed down," the three surfers were left with only their vehicle, the clothing on their backs, and thirty-five dollars, which they scrounged from another group of gringos encamped closer to the hotel. "We didn't here them come or go," said Lombardo. "They were ridiculously quiet."
Bolting for the border, the three were readmitted to the U.S. without identification mid-morning on Sunday, after recounting their tale to officials. Like the three victims of the Tijuana robbery, Lombardo's not sure when he'll head back. "I'm not going to go for awhile," he said. "But this sort of thing happens down there all the time. I almost feel like it's a right of passage for California surfers."
Based on the details of the two incidents, it's unlikely the perpetrators of this robbery were the same individuals responsible for the one in Tijuana. Unlike the first robbery, the perpetrators in this event were only interested in money and easily-dispensable goods—not the car. And, according to Lombardo, they were not fluent in English, as the Tijuana suspects reportedly were. Still, the idea of two separate gunpoint robberies in Baja in less than 10-days is hardly comforting news, even if they seem to be unrelated. Surfers intent on heading south should take note, and care, in the wake of these events.