Armed and dangerous: Car theft suspects being presented to the media at Jakarta Police headquarters on Tuesday along with weapons and mobile phones that police had confiscated as evidence. (Antara/Zabur Karuru)
Santi Theresia Simanjuntak, 30, has been driving alone on Jakarta’s roads for more than eight years, back and forth, from her house in Buaran, East Jakarta, to her office at a manufacturing company on Jl. Sudirman, Central Jakarta.
Her busy job sometimes requires her to travel home late in the evening. Previously, she never felt scared to drive alone at night; only recently has she begun to feel anxious about driving home alone.
“Now, I feel insecure when I have to drive alone, even though it may still be 7 p.m. or 8 p.m.,” Santi said.
Santi is afraid, and not without cause.
Recently, she said, a friend of hers was robbed by a man when stopped at a crossroad in Slipi, West Jakarta. The thief threatened to break the car’s window, thereby forcing her friend to surrender her cellular phone in the incident.
Another type of car crime occurred in Bendungan Hilir, Central Jakarta. On April 26, couple Andhes Deiminta and Irfan Adriansyah had their white Honda CRV car stolen by a group of people, who claimed to be officers from the Jakarta Police narcotics directorate.
Andhes and Irfan were relieved when the Jakarta Police revealed on Tuesday that it had recently apprehended four of the car thieves.
Police arrested two of the alleged robbers, Rama and Fahrurozi, in Bogor, West Java, in May. From information they provided, police then apprehended Yadi in Bogor, and Haryanto and Bimo in Jakarta in June.
“Haryanto was shot dead on Monday when he tried to flee detectives who had taken him out of detention to search for three accomplices, who are still at large,” Jakarta Police spokesman, Sr. Comr. Rikwanto, told reporters.
From the suspects, the police confiscated two cars, five mobile phones, one laptop, one homemade firearm and six live bullets.
The gang had so far committed crimes on three occasions in several locations across Greater Jakarta during the last two months, Rikwanto said. In doing so, gang members invariably pretended to be narcotics directorate police officers. Their modus operandi was to accuse their victims of drug offenses, allowing them entry into the victims’ cars.
The group stole a silver Avanza van in Kebayoran Lama, South Jakarta, in February and a black Avanza in Mega Mendung, Bogor, in March. Their latest victims were Andhes and Irfan, who had just had dinner at a roadside seafood warung in Bendungan Hilir.
Rikwanto said the gang told Andhes and Irfan to get in the car, accusing them of drug possession. Once inside the car, gang members bound the couple and duct-taped their eyes and mouths.
The group inflicted electric shocks on the pair several times when they refused to give up their ATM pin numbers. They also threatened to shoot the couple. After getting all the information and personal belongings they wanted, the group then dumped the couple near an exit gate on the Jagorawi toll road in Kranggang Gunung Putri, Bogor.
Jakarta Police flying squad unit chief, Adj. Sr. Comr. Herry Heryawan, suspected that the armed robbers procured homemade firearms from a firearms maker in Cipacing, Sumedang, West Java. Cipacing is a well-known center for air rifle production. However, several rogue gunsmiths in the area are notorious for making firearms commissioned by criminals.
“Currently, we are still chasing the Cipacing gunsmith who made the weapons for this gang of car thieves,” Herry said. (riz)
Don’t fall victim!
• Jakarta Police spokesman, Sr. Comr. Rikwanto, reminds Jakartans to remain vigilant, sharing the following tips to prevent further car thefts:
• After dark, stop your vehicle only at places with adequate lighting.
• Don’t too readily believe someone claiming to be a police officer. Always ask for identification.
• Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you feel threatened by anyone, or scream to get people’s attention.