This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Friday, April 27, 2018

We Get Too Soon Old and Too Late Smart

"It was a very scary thing that happened to me."
"I really don't want anybody to experience what I did, and maybe if the police caught the man who did this, nobody else will be hurt."
Unnamed victim
’Hamid Chekakri, 47, has been arrested in Atlanta on suspicion of doping seniors with drugged chocolates before stealing cash and valuables from their homes. Police handout
Elderly people are usually polite with strangers and for the most part respond to those who appear to be kind and 'charming', with trust. It seems the older one becomes, the more trusting. Because basically it's easier to believe -- or want to trust -- that people are basically good, and that it never hurts to give the time of day to people who appear to be comfortable in your presence. Certainly the benefit of the doubt is in favour of briefly befriending people who seem to merit it.

And for the people who were victimized by 47-year-old Algerian-born Hamid Chekakri, polite Canadians appear to have given him the time of day. They were willing to converse with him, to permit him into their homes on the pretext he conveyed that he was just a man looking for information, or, if they had a house for sale, perhaps he could be the buyer. And since he was so nice about it all, they were nice right back to him.

His modus operandi was to gain the trust of older people in their 60s and 70s, behave as though a transaction of some value to them might be in the offing, and as a sign of goodwill would offer them chocolates. One woman declined his offer, but he circumvented her decision of disinterest by popping a chocolate into her mouth. Imagine the effrontery of it! One might think the reaction to that would be offence, but this woman evidently swallowed the unwanted chocolate. It took 15 minutes for her to feel v e e e e r y drowsy.

The trouble was, anyone who enjoyed one of those chocolates would be ingesting a quite powerful sedative. Generally used medically in the treatment of seizures and anxiety. Mr. Chekakri used such a strong version of the drug that many of those he cajoled into enjoying one of his chocolates lost consciousness for a day, even several days. One couple in Montreal, 67 and 76, man and wife, were unconscious for 24 hours. 

When the 67-year-old wife woke she realized her head and lips were bruised, and then she saw her husband, unconscious on the floor. Taken to hospital they were tested positive for Clonazepam. On their return home they discovered that personal documents, cash, and jewellery were missing. In the space of a week, the "calm, patient and very charming" man robbed three households, feeding the householders  his special chocolates.

Video footage recorded by security cameras located close to the victims' home revealed that a rented vehicle left the area soon after the couple had fallen asleep, later found abandoned. But the rental registration surrendered the name of the culprit, and seeking assistance from the public to identify the image of the man captured on video, he was identified. And linked to six victims in various parts of Montreal and Ottawa.

Mr. Chekakri fled with the avails of his robberies, and was found and identified by the U.S. Marshals Service in Atlanta, Georgia where he had arrived on a flight from Costa Rica. Authorities confirmed active warrants out of Montreal for assault and burglary and arrested the man, and Montreal police escorted him back to Canada. To stand trial, while police urge any possible additional victims to come forward.

  • Five counts of aggravated assault.
  • Five counts of causing any person to take a stupefying or overpowering drug.
  • Five counts of robbery.
  • Three counts of breaking and entering.

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