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Tijuana police arrested four medical students from the Autonomous University of Baja California on the afternoon of Friday, March 27, for allegedly stealing money they were supposed to be collecting for the Mexican Red Cross.

Annual collections for the Red Cross are a familiar sight on Tijuana streets: holding sealed plastic containers, young people stand at intersections where stopped drivers deposit their donations. After a donation is made, a small Red Cross sticker is usually placed on the car’s windshield to show a contribution donation has been given.

Police issued a statement saying that at about 2:10 p.m. on Friday they received a call from a bank where the students were trying to have bills changed into coins. Officers summoned to the bank surprised the students, discovering them with a plastic Red Cross collection box whose “security seal” had been broken. The students had removed 170 pesos (a little over $12) and 5 dollars in U.S. currency, police said.

Medical students Carmen Guerrero Rodríguez, 21, Ramón Guillermo Ascencio Torrado, Omar Alfonso Ugalde Herrera, and Paulina Barba Martínez, all 19, were turned over to the state prosecutor for possible charges.

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