Ricardo Rodrigues is the third of 4 people made arguidos in July 2014, so what do we know about him?
Before we start on this topic, searching for Ricardo Rodrigues in Portugal is about as productive as searching for John Smith in England. Therefore, we are heavily reliant on media reports, which is not a good start.
Ricardo Rodrigues was not interviewed as part of the original PJ investigation. He was 16 at the time of the Madeleine incident and did not work for the Ocean Club.
Ricardo Rodrigues allegedly received 3 phone calls and 1 text from another arguido, José da Silva, on the evening of 3rd May 2007. There was also, allegedly a call be between Ricardo and a fourth arguido, on 2 May 2007.
One of these can be proved. Heriberto Janosch dug into the PJ Files and established that a call was made from José da Silva to Ricardo Rodrigues. This happened at 21:51 on 3 May, and lasted a little under a minute.
The other 3 contacts were earlier in the evening, and at the moment the evidence for these is merely the media. Given that the media speculation was frenzied, sometimes alleging large numbers of contacts before Madeleine disappeared and sometimes alleging numerous contacts after Madeleine disappeared, we are now into dangerous waters. A further 2 calls and 1 text in the evening of 3 May do not fit my understanding of ‘numerous’.
If this was a burglary developing, then the direction of communication, from José to Ricardo fits one possible scenario well. José was a look-out and Ricardo was the burglar.
This fits with the age profiles, with José around 30 at the time and Ricardo 16.
It does not fit with Ricardo being some sort of controller or look-out, while José tried to carry out the burglary.
The actual call pattern is a weak match for Tapas 9 movements, and don’t fit with a burglary. Does a look-out phone or text a burglar whilst the burglar is actively attempting to enter a property and steal?
Apart from a potential burglary connection, the media linked Ricardo Rodrigues to a potential charity collector sighting. The implication is that this was a scam, but as far as a burglary is concerned it matters not a jot.
The question that arises is – would a person planning a burglary turn up a day or two earlier on the doorstep, with the intention of sizing up the scene? This is both a good way to get noticed and a poor way to assess the security of the target.
There was a charity collector reported at the rear of 5A. However, he was working alone, he does not fit Ricardo, and if apartment 5A was burgled, it is more likely that the children’s bedroom window was used.
This leaves me with a third arguido where I am struggling to find what was sufficient to make him an arguido.
Perhaps he had a criminal record. It is possible, but I have no evidence to support that allegation.
The media described him as either a beggar or a charity collector when he was 16, but at age 23 seems to prefer the term unemployed.
That is not a lot to go on, and trying to find Ricardo Rodrigues is difficult, so is there anything to add to this?
One small insight may be relevant. Ricardo apparently was the owner of a particular make, model and colour of car. One Ricardo Rodrigues turns up in an adventure on 8 Sep 2010 at the Autódromo International do Algarve, a racing circuit to the north east of Luz.
A group of friends from the area had taken their cars to the track. It appears that you could race your own street cars on the circuit, for a charge of €5 per car for two laps. The group had some fun then decided to halt, all but two cars. The drivers, one of them Ricardo Rodrigues, decided to race a further two laps.
They were racing round one of the turns when Ricardo lost control, hitting the other car, so halting the race. The damage was around €600 per car.
Ricardo was supposedly 16 at the time of Madeleine incident. That would make him around 19 at the time of the Autódromo crash. In Portugal, you need to be 19 to sit your driving test, so Ricardo does not seem to have been an experienced driver.
More importantly, in he was described by the media as being either a beggar or a charity collector in 2007. He was described by the media as being unemployed in 2014.
He appears to have had the means to purchase a fairly sporty hatchback that was not old by Portuguese standards. As to whether that source of income was by his own methods or whether it was provided by someone else, I don’t know.
Again, the reason for making Ricardo an arguido is unknown. If he had a criminal record then it might be understandable. If he was identified via Crimewatch, then again it might be reasonable. However, the Crimewatch route again suffers from the fact it was not shown in Portugal. It suffers from another major problem. Although the files have a couple of statements that might be, at a stretch, Ricardo out doing charity collections with another older collector, it appears that no e-fit of the younger collector was produced.
This leaves a more tenuous connection to an older collector i.e. that the older collector was named via Crimewatch, and Ricardo Rodrigues was linked by the final ‘dodgy’ phone communication, namely a call between them on 2nd May 2007.
This is very unappetising fodder indeed.