Mon, 07 Aug 2000

Japanese detained for shoplifting

JAKARTA (JP): Plaza Indonesia security guards escorted a Japanese citizen, accused of stealing souvenirs from a stand, to Jakarta Police Headquarters, a police officer said on Saturday.

Sr. Insp. Reinhard Hutagaol from Jakarta Police Headquarters said Higuchi was nabbed on Friday with three plastic bags containing souvenirs, such as frames, a candle, mug and soap dish, collectively worth 1.9 million (US$215), said to have been taken from the Garasi souvenir shop on the third floor of the shopping center.

Reinhard refused to provide further information about the suspect but said that Higuchi was staying at the five-star Grand Hyatt hotel, which is connected to the shopping center.

The shop owner, who asked not to be named, told The Jakarta Post that the stands which displayed the merchandise, like many stands on the same floor, were not locked.

"There are other stands on the third floor but he only stole goods displayed at ours," the woman said.

A shop attendant discovered the theft on Friday morning, Sikus Siska Wati.

"She then alerted the security guards," he said.

Officer Reinhard said there was a possibility that the suspected shoplifter might be suffering from emotional problems as he had given unusual responses to questions raised by the investigators.

But he gave no further explanation.

He explained that three guards at the plaza -- Ato Aryanto, Rudolf and Amrizal -- saw Higuchi roaming around the shopping center on Friday morning.

"He was seen by the witnesses (the three guards) wandering around and taking pictures. He was carrying three plastic bags," he said.

"But they didn't suspect him of any wrongdoing. They thought the Japanese was just one of the hotel's guests."

The guards only realized that something had happened after they received a report from shop attendant Sikus.

"They then rushed to the hotel to question the suspect. Later they found the missing items in the three plastic bags in Higuchi's room," Reinhard said. (lup)