Alias el Tío is perhaps one of the most famous thieves in modern Colombian history. He is known, mainly, for the millionaire blow to the Valledupar headquarters of the Bank of the Republic, on October 16, 1994, where he took, together with a group of experienced criminals, 24,072 million pesos (about 30 million dollars) without firing a single shot.
This story was recently turned into a series that shocked the world by the ingenuity and ability shown in the assault.
Years later, the protagonists of this story were left behind bars, including their leader. However, they regained their freedom, and they were heard from again for a three-hour kidnapping for which they managed to get one million six hundred thousand dollars in Bogotá.
It happened on July 28, 2016, in Engativá. After months of cautious intelligence, alias el Tío prepared a group of criminals he trusted, very experienced, to carry out a millimeter plan.
The idea was to install a false checkpoint for the financial manager of a multinational company that had entered the Clinton list.
Uncle knew that, because he was on the list, the company, which did not stop billing, could not change the money it moved into dollars, and began to store it in its own facilities, in a shopping center in the north of the city. Investigators in this case suspect that someone within the company provided this information, which was well used.
“When he leaves his house, he is approached by false police officers and members of the CTI, who tell him that he has legal problems.
In the vehicle they tell him that they will take him to the Andromeda office and that there he will be able to speak with his lawyer.
On the way they blindfold him, they admit him to a house and they tell him that it is a collection office and that he has to pay 15 million dollars, that if he does not pay that they will kill his family ”, says an agent of the Gaula de the Bogotá Police who led the difficult task of tracking down this famous thief.
Everything was organized. The financial manager was forced to call the money manager to say that he had finally found who would change the dollars, and that he should take them to an address near Unicentro, in the north of the city.
If he said anything about the kidnapping, they would kill him and his family members.
The agreed money (finally one million 600 thousand dollars) was taken to the fixed place and, half an hour after this, the financial manager was abandoned on Avenida Boyacá with Calle 53. The coup, apparently, had been perfect. Not a trace was left, there wasn’t a single shot
The place where they installed the false checkpoint did not have security cameras, as well as where they delivered the money or where they left the victim, and all the members used new cell phones and sim cards; tracking them was not going to be an easy task.
The authorities learned of the case once the businessman reported that he had requested the money because he had been kidnapped. Investigators focused on three key points, where they kidnapped him, where they delivered the money, and where they released the victim.
With information stored in telecommunications antennas, they were able to identify the cell line from which the calls came to agree on the payment, and established a connection between six telephone lines. However, they had not identified anyone behind them. An error by one of the assailants was what defined the course of this investigation.
“They downloaded a cell phone and used a personal sim, and the number of who it was was left, two targets were located, and we intercepted,” said the Gaula agent. On August 2, 2017, two people were captured for these tasks.
Neither wanted to collaborate. They said they were afraid of who had hired them, because, according to them, he was someone very dangerous.
In 2018, three other alleged participants in the kidnapping were captured, and one of them decided to speak up. However, when he was going to make his contributions to the investigation of the Prosecutor’s Office, while in prison, he died, supposedly due to fluid retention.
The investigation was zeroed again. However, there were other captures and one of them, although with fear, revealed some details.
“He did not have the data very well but he knew that this person lived near Bulevar Niza, that he had participated in the theft of the century from the Banco de la República de Valledupar, the Banco Agrario de Bogotá and one in Pasto. He told us that they called him the alias El Tío ”, said the researcher.
Little by little, the authorities concluded that there were eight participants in the kidnapping of the businessman. It was 2018 when one of the first captured, with two years deprived of liberty, decided to break his silence.
“‘The one who made the return is called’ El Tío ‘, he participated in the robbery of the century, he lives with his wife and children, he told me that he was going to place two taxis, he did not comply, I tell them where he lives and with whom he passes it on.
‘He gave us the name of a pool table, we went but we didn’t see anything, he told us where the house was, on Bulevar Niza, “he revealed what the inmate confessed to the detective.