Man in Yogyakarta arrested for stealing traffic lights and selling them online

An intersection in Yogyakarta with its traffic light missing. Photo: Instagram/@dishubkotayogya
An intersection in Yogyakarta with its traffic light missing. Photo: Instagram/@dishubkotayogya

In today’s News So Crazy You Won’t Believe It Happened, police in Yogyakarta have apprehended a man who allegedly stole traffic lights in the city with the intention of selling them online.

Andhyka Donny Hendrawan, who heads Yogyakarta City Police’s Crime Investigation unit, said that the suspect, identified as 27-year-old MENC, was arrested after the police received a report about missing traffic lights at Wirosaban intersection in Umbulharjo district last Saturday.

MENC was apprehended by joint officers from Yogyakarta City’s Transportation Agency and Yogyakarta City Police at his relative’s home, where they found a number of dismantled traffic lights.

According to Andhyka, MENC pretended to be employed by the local government to perform maintenance on the traffic lights.

“[The suspect] claimed to be a Transportation Agency support staff. He said he would fix [the traffic lights] but instead brought them home by hiring a mover truck,” Andhyka said.

Police confiscated a number of items as evidence, including a pickup truck, a wrench, a traffic light controller, as well as several poles.

The suspect reportedly stole traffic lights from at least seven spots throughout the city. He had always carried out his crime at night.

If you were wondering if there was a market for stolen traffic lights, police said MENC, who listed the goods for sale online, had yet to sell any before he was apprehended. 

MENC has been charged with theft under Indonesia’s Criminal Code (KUHP), which may see him imprisoned for up to five years.

Windarto Kuswandono, who heads the Traffic Unit at Yogyakarta City’s Transportation Agency, said that MENC had stolen fully functional traffic lights.

“New ones are worth around IDR15 million (US$1,048) each. The theft disrupted drivers’ safety,” Windarto said, adding that his agency will inspect the city’s traffic lights so they’re not prone to theft.

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