Police in East Jakarta have arrested a 39-year-old woman named Djeni Herilewie, who they say stole 62 cars in just two months around the capital.
Djeni did not have high-tech equipments nor accomplices a la Nicholas Cage and Angelina Jolie in Gone in 60 Seconds to aid her auto theft. According to the police, she relied on good ol’ powers of persuasion and spiritual nous.
“She is good at persuading people. Almost everybody who meets her ends up trusting her. When she meets them, she puts on pity looks or what have you, and people took to her,” East Jakarta Police Vehicle Theft Unit Head Wahyudi told Kompas yesterday.
“She has some kind of ‘klenik’ (mystical) air about her. If one is not strong in one’s convictions then one might be influenced by her. That’s how easily people could trust her.”
According to the police, Djeni rented most of the cars she stole and evaded car rentals by consistently changing her mobile phone number. She then sold the stolen cars for an estimated value of IDR2.5 billion (US$176K), but police are now trying to track where the money has gone as it was not in any of her bank accounts. To the police, Djeni said she had spent the money to fund a lavish lifestyle.
Police say Djeni also took out leases on some of the cars she stole before she managed to evade creditors as well.
Djeni was arrested in mid-September after police set up a sting operation using one of her alleged victims as bait. Police had the alleged victim offer to rent another car to Djeni, which she agreed to.
So far, 13 of the 62 cars have been recovered and returned to their rightful owners.
Djeni has been charged with theft under the Criminal Code, one count of which is punishable by up to four years in prison.
More Coconuts Jakarta news here.