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Jakarta Post

West Java hospital employees arrested for allegedly stealing hundreds of boxes of masks

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, March 26, 2020   /   05:37 pm
West Java hospital employees arrested for allegedly stealing hundreds of boxes of masks A medical staff member wears makeshift personal protective equipment made from a disposable plastic raincoat in the Soesilo Regional Hospital, Tegal Regency, Central Java on March 18. (Antara/Oky Lukmansyah)

The Cianjur Police criminal investigation unit has arrested four suspects, identified only by the initials IS, RN, YH and CR, for stealing hundreds of boxes of masks from Pagelaran General Hospital in Cianjur, West Java.

Cianjur Police Chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Juang Andi Priyanto said three of the suspects were employees of the hospital and one was a civil servant.

“The other [alleged] perpetrator, CR, acted as a fence,” Juang told reporters during a press conference at the Cianjur Police headquarters on Thursday, as quoted by kompas.com.

According to the police, the suspects are accused of taking masks from the hospital’s pharmaceutical warehouse on four different occasions. Police claim the accused stole a total of 360 boxes of masks, fewer than an initial report that 470 had gone missing.

Hospital director Awie Darwizar said on Tuesday that the masks were needed by its medical workers to treat COVID-19 patients and that the facility currently only had 60 boxes left, which would be only be enough for the next several days. He estimated that the financial loss caused by the theft was about Rp 100 million (US$6,100).

Police claim the accused admit to having sold the stolen masks outside of town at prices ranging from Rp 80,000 to Rp 100,000 per box.

“Meanwhile, the market price for this type of mask is currently about Rp 200,000 per box,” Juang said.

Cianjur Police criminal investigation unit head Adj. Comr. Niki Ramdhany said examinations of witnesses and the crime scene led them to these four suspects.

“At the scene, there were no broken doors or windows. So from the beginning, we suspected that insiders were involved,” said Niki.

According to Niki, the crime was committed at night by entering the pharmaceutical warehouse using a key owned by one of the suspects.

“They turned off the CCTV cameras so that their actions were not recorded,” said Niki.

The four suspects are being held by the Cianjur Police and were charged under articles 363 and 480 of the Criminal Code. They face a maximum punishment of seven years' imprisonment if convicted. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a massive strain on Indonesia’s healthcare system, with reports of inadequate medical supplies and the deaths of hospital workers as patient numbers continue to surge.(syk)