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Watch out for burglaries and out-of-control effigy burnings this holiday weekend

April 17, 2014

On Saturday, the night before Easter, Costa Rica marks the traditional “Burning of Judas,” where Catholics set flame to effigies of Judas Iscariot, the apostle who betrayed Jesus and led to his crucifixion.

Though rooted in religious lore, the tradition is upheld less by devout catholics and more by teenage pyromaniacs in Costa Rica. Last year police were called to 446 effigy burnings and arrested 54 people.

For those out of town for the holidays, the Public Security Ministry also released warnings to residents to prepare for an increase in burglaries over the holiday weekend. Police will increase their rounds in urban areas for the Thursday and Friday holidays, Security Minister Mario Zamora told Spanish-language news site Amelia Rueda.

According to Zamora, robberies generally increase during Semana Santa due to the high volume of people leaving the Central Valley for vacation. Data from the Judicial Investigation Unit (OIJ) says that there were 157 reported break-ins during last year’s holy week. To prevent robberies, the Public Security Ministry will have 660 cars and motorcycles patrolling the streets Thursday and Friday.

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