The neighborhoods of Kemang and Setiabudi in South Jakarta are home to some of the capital’s best bars and restaurants, but the police say distracted patrons at those establishments have recently become soft marks for a group of cell phone thieves.
The South Jakarta Police say they arrested three suspects for alleged cell phone theft on Sunday evening, after catching two of them in action at a tapas bar in Setiabudi.
“The victim was talking to their friend while standing up. Before that, the victim was holding on to their phone, which they then put inside their bag,” South Jakarta Police Chief Indra Jafar said at a press conference discussing the arrest today, as quoted by Kompas.
Indra went on to say that when the victim later checked inside their bag, which was unzipped, only to find their phone was missing.
After the theft was reported, the police located and arrested two suspects, a couple identified as 44-year-old Chairul Noveri and 33-year-old Fitrianti, who had two stolen iPhones on them at the time. They then confessed to the police that Chairul, as well as one other suspect, Andi, who is still at large, were usually tasked with swiping patrons’ cell phones while Fitrianti distracted them with a chat.
Soon after, the police also arrested an accomplice named Sigit, who had on him up to 30 cell phones stolen by the group.
The suspects told the police that they have been stealing phones since May, frequenting bars and restaurants in Kemang and Setiabudi from around midnight to 2 am on most days.
The suspects have been charged with theft under the KUHP (Criminal Code), a crime punishable by up to nine years in prison.