Wallet stolen? What to do?

July 9, 2016

At Christmas time last year Paul had his pocket picked at the Cuernavaca bus station. It’s an all too common story, but the street near the bus station exit was under construction so they funneled exiting passengers through a narrow passage. While Paul trundled our suitcase he got bumped by someone and that was the moment. His wallet was in the front pocket of his Dockers style pants so you know those guys are good. In one of those “wish I had thought of it before” moments he also realized his pants had a hidden zipper pocket in the calf area… too bad.   Bus stations are notorious though, especially at the holidays.

We realized almost immediately that it was missing and checked the area garbage cans and also rechecked the bus. No luck. So when our son and his family picked us up, we sprang into action.

First and most important was to cancel our Bancomer debit and credit card. Martha called for us and got through immediately because she has an app on her smartphone that gives her immediate help. That’s worth looking into, whatever your bank. They were very helpful and kept my debit card alive and offered to have a new card (without his name) available at any branch just by giving them a code number. he credit card we ordered sent to our branch in Mazatlán. They would have sent it to our house but since we were traveling that wouldn’t work.

Next we called our US bank to cancel his US debit and credit cards. His again were cut off and new ones sent to our US mailing address. Our son sent them to us via DHL once we got home from our trip. (That cost about $50.00 USD)

When we got home we dug into the unpleasant task of replacing his permanent Mexican Visa and Mexican driver’s license. Here’s what you need to do if this ever happens to you. I’ve made a map that you can access below, click the square on the top left to access the legend:

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You need to start with the VISA as it’s needed in order to get your driver’s license. We went to see Angel Cruz (Purple pin on map) (Aquiles Serdán #410 – 669 193 6441) as he used to help us before we had permanent visa status. The picture above is Angel’s location right next door to Immigration. He charged $500 pesos ($27.01 USD) for his assistance.

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Photo Google Street View

The first thing he had us do is go up to the Agencia Quinta Del Ministerio Publico Del Fuero (District Attorney for Tourists) (Green pin on map) that is in front of the Hotel Playa Mazatlan in the Golden Zone. Here you tell the person behind the window that you lost your wallet and she will give you a form to fill out, after which they will stamp and sign it. The picture of where you go is at the right in the photo above. We told them we had lost the wallet rather than it being stolen because we did not have a police report from Cuernavaca.

We then returned to Angel and he filled in a bunch of forms, made some copies of the form we got (above) and our passport, etc. He had all our paperwork in his computer from the last time we’d gotten our visa. He bundled it all up and we walked next door to Immigration (Red pin on map) and gave it to the officer. After looking through it she gave us a paper to take to the bank and pay. We went to Bancomer and paid 1,107 pesos ($59.81 USD) into the Immigration account.

We returned to Immigration with our receipt, which they looked up on line to make sure it had been credited. They took down his email address and said that he would need to come back for fingerprinting in about a week, but that he would get an email.  We returned to Angel to let him know our number so he would keep checking, too.

In a week we returned for fingerprinting and then another wait of a week before we could go pick up the completed card. Success!

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Photo from Google Street View

Now we could get started on replacing the driver’s license. Angel had recommended a helper by the name of Jaime (669 153 1677) who is on Rio Quelite just behind the State Government buildings on Rio Baluarte (Yellow pin on map) But before we went and saw him we had to go to the City Transit location (Blue pin on map and photo above) and pick up a paper that says we have no outstanding infractions. You will need a copy of your old driver’s license if you have it, the letter from the Agencia Quinta del Ministerio, and your passport. You walk in and tell the man at the desk what you need – he will direct you up a ramp, around the corner to the left, and up to another kiosk with another man who will direct you inside a door. It’s a hive of working people and the lady you want is visible at the end of a short hall.She will look you up in her computer and give you a form to go pay and return. You will walk out and to the left, across a parking lot to the caja (pay location.) You’ll be charged 100 pesos ($5.40 USD.) Return to the lady and she will print you out a letter saying you have no infractions.

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We had called Jaime and made an appointment for a couple days later, thoughtfully timing it for a day far from a payday (15th/end of month) so that there would be fewer people (hopefully) wanting to do paperwork. Jaime speaks English I’ve been told but he would prefer to do the transaction in Spanish. That’s his office, above. You need to bring your No Infractions letter, 2 copies of your passport picture page, a copy of your Mexican Visa (front & back) and proof of address (electric bill.) Paul decided to get a 4 year license this time. Jaime assembles everything and scurries around here and there and after a few minutes had him go wait in the room next door for his name to be called for pictures. After a three minute chat with a fellow he knew from buying our car he was called for his picture. Jaime charged 1,250 pesos ($67.54 USD) for the 4 year license, his work, and any tips he needed to make to others. He was there for just 30 minutes if you can believe it!

I know many people might think we are lazy to use helpers for these transactions but anyone who can afford it makes use of them, believe me. It’s not just expats. Paperwork and things like this take a lot of time here in Mexico and whenever there’s a need you know that someone will think up a business to fill it. We are grateful to Angel and Jaime and are also happy to have a 4 year driver’s license this time!

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More about Nancy

I'm Nancy, a US expat living in San Antonio Tlayacapan, Jalisco after 11 years in Mazatlán, México.

    1. My best friend just had her wallet stolen. She was in a food court at one of our malls. The girl at the counter distracted her, someone bumped into her, and dipped their hand into her purse. She didn’t notice until she was at her next stop and went to pay.

      Fortunately, her visa and credit cards weren’t in it. I went with her to get a replacement for her Yucatecan driver’s license, Sam’s club card, and INAPAM card. It was super easy, if it had been her residency card, then the first stop would have been a police report. Another friend had her water meter stolen (for the copper) and that was the first step.

      Mostly, it involved photocopies, waiting in line, and a little bit of money. The driver’s license fee is half the original fee. Unfortunately, she has two years left on a five year license, so it was over $600 mxn (ironically, more than the fee for a 2 year license), the INAPAM was just $5 mxn to pay for the mica and the Sam’s was free. I was really impressed with the ease of it all.


    1. Nancy I need some help? I’ve been vacationing in Mazatlan for many years always renting homes in the El Cid Casa’s on the golf course. I use to rent from a very nice lady that has passed her name was Pat Smith, maybe you knew her. So here’s what I’m thinking. I’d like to open a B&B but wondering what would be the best location. I’m not doing it for the income as much as doing it for the pleasure of entertaining.
      Can you please let me know your thoughts on location?

      Best Regards.

      1. Donald, I wish you the best of luck in your potential B & B but you really should check things out yourself. I am partial to Centro, but that’s just me.

    1. Nancy, I’m glad it was a relatively smooth process for you. We plan to get our residente temporal when we visit next April – can you tell me if Angel Cruz has a email address? I have lots of questions for him about the whole process, etc.
      I so enjoy your blog….you have provided invaluable insight into life in Mazatlán.
      thanks, Linda

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