Tue, 21 Mar 2000

Woman grilled over series of jewel thefts

JAKARTA (JP): Pamulang police detectives are questioning a woman arrested early this month in connection with a series of jewel heists worth Rp 60 million (US$8,000) at two separate places in Pamulang, South Jakarta.

Following her arrest on March 3, Irma F., 39, who was three months pregnant at the time, suffered a miscarriage. She was admitted to National Police Kramatjati hospital in East Jakarta, where she received medical treatment over a four day period.

"We are still searching for Andi and Julie, the other two suspects in the case, but could proceed with the interrogation after Irma's discharge from the hospital, for she was still traumatized over the death of her baby," Pamulang police chief Capt. Wiyarso told reporters.

"Irma had successfully duped maidservants in two houses and run off with Rp 60 million worth of gold and diamond jewelry. When she attempted to steal from a third house residents alerted us. We got there in time and apprehended her."

Irma was arrested following an attempted robbery on March 3 at the home of Andi Purnama on Jl. Pamulang Permai I, Block B5.

Wiyarso said Irma had robbed Rp 50 million worth of jewelry from the house of Bigonondo, at the Pamulang II housing complex on Feb. 22, and Rp 10 million worth of jewelry from the home of Tintin Rustini, at the Pamulang Villa, Block U 11, No. 1, on Feb. 24.

At the home of Bigonondo, Irma fooled Yanti, a 13-year-old maid, into believing that she was a friend of the house's owners and that they had sent her to pick up some things. At another residence she similarly fooled Titin, an 11-year-old maid.

"Irma told both Titin and Yanti that the houses' owners had sent her to pick up porn magazines from each residence. When they wanted to look at what she had taken she would tell them that they were kids and were not allowed to look at pornography," Wiyarso said.

Irma, a resident of Jl. Penegak III in Matraman, East Jakarta, failed to fool Yuni, the 25-year-old maid of Andi Purnama, who immediately got suspicious and alerted residents in the area.

Giant scissors

Police confiscated a cellphone from Irma, and found a machete, a spoon -- allegedly used by her to open the locks on drawers -- and a pair of gigantic scissors.

"She has told us that Andi and Julie gave her only Rp 150,000 for the job, and that all the jewelry is in the hands of Andi," Wiyarso said.

Irma, the wife of a hotel/bar musician and mother of two children, separately told reporters that she met Andi about a month ago.

"I was buying fruits at Pasar Rebo, East Jakarta, and was about to take a minibus home when he approached me," she said, crying.

"He tapped me on the shoulder and asked where I was going. I told him where my house was, that I usually wait for the bus at the Salemba bus stop. I also told him where I usually go, what I usually do... everything. He then gave me this green-colored paper, and told me that a lone woman like me would always be kept safe by it," she added.

Three days after the meeting, Irma said Andi showed up at the Salemba bus stop, where he ordered her to get into his car and do what he told her.

"I have lost my baby in the process. Whatever I did, I did not do it in full consciousness... I remember clearly where he went, and where he used to get off," Irma said.

"I'm willing to help the police apprehend Andi," she added. (ylt)