Tue, 11 Apr 2000

Police suspect foreigners in Plaza Senayan robbery

JAKARTA (JP): Jakarta Police chief Maj. Gen. Nurfaizi said on Monday that detectives were looking for six foreigners in connection with Sunday's armed robbery at a jewelry store in Plaza Senayan shopping center, South Jakarta.

"There were six men, all foreigners. We're trying to hunt them down. The three projectiles found at the crime scene originated from a gas propelled gun," Nurfaizi announced late on Monday evening.

A police source said statements by witnesses indicated that the masked robbers were foreigners, one or two of whom may have been of African origin.

"That is what witnesses have told us, based on the description of the voices, accents and skin color," the source said.

"We are still searching for them."

Armed thugs robbed the Benteng Jewelry store of Rp 200 million (US$26,700) worth of diamonds, in Plaza Senayan on Sunday evening.

Budi Santoso, an on-duty security guard, earlier told The Jakarta Post that there were four robbers, not six, who wore dark hats and masks to cover their faces.

"One of them carried a crowbar," Budi added. He said the robbers hit the Benteng Jewelry store at 6:40 p.m.

"They used the crowbar to break the windows and glass of the display tables," Budi said, adding that he alerted his colleagues who later called the police.

Budi said the robbers grabbed the jewels and put them into a black bag during their 15-minute operation.

The thugs, Budi added, shot five times at security guards and at people who ran after them. "They got into a Daihatsu minivan, heading toward Jl. Palmerah. I could not memorize the car's registration number because they had taken it off," he said.

Separately, two robberies occurred in two different places on Monday.

In South Jakarta, a 79-year-old woman was robbed on Monday afternoon by four people, two of them allegedly her servants of four days, on Jl. M. Saedi Raya No. 34, in the Petukangan Selatan area of Pesanggrahan.

South Jakarta Police chief Col. Nono Suprijono identified the woman as Sarmini Tambunan.

"It was a very strange robbery. The victim communicated very well with the robbers. They ran off with Rp 90,000 (US$12), her cell phone, her camera and her bird," Nono said.

Officers said Sarmini was doing house work when the four suspects, one woman and three men, held her and tied her up with pillowcases.

"She ordered the robbers around. She told them not to cover her nose when they tied her up or she might die. The robbers told her to just be quiet and watch TV. She told them not to tie up her legs too tightly," an officer said.

The robbers untied the victim's legs before running off with the loot. Sarmini identified two of the robbers as her servants, Yono and Wati. She said she had no idea who the other two were.

In Central Jakarta, four armed men robbed the home of another elderly woman and her son in the Duri Pulo area of Gambir district and ran off with gold jewelry, Rp 2 million in cash and a cell phone at 4 p.m. on Monday.

Chief Sgt. Petrus Joko of the crime scene unit at Central Jakarta Police identified the victims as Yup Bit Tin, 85, and her son as Yup Goet Chai, 50.

"Three of the four robbers broke in and entered the house via the front gate. The robbers threatened the mother and son with sharp weapons and forced them to stay in the bedroom while they ransacked the house," Petrus said.

In an unrelated development, West Jakarta Police detectives tracked down on Sunday afternoon a suspected thief, who was then fatally shot in back when trying to escape arrest in the Tambora district.

West Jakarta Police chief Col. Adjie Rustam Ramdja identified the suspect as Maman. Police had been looking for Maman since March 20, in connection with the theft of 70 feet of fabric from a textile shop in the Roa Malaka subdistrict of Tambora.

"Three of his accomplices in the theft were arrested on March 20, the day of the crime. He was the one we didn't catch," Adjie said. (ylt/06)