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Lessons learned from catching a burglar in Bali

Home break-ins and muggings are common in Bali and reported on a daily basis in Facebook groups like Bali Crime Reports. People debate whether to contact the police or village if they get robbed and wonder who is behind these crimes. I or I should say my wife, was involved in a case here recently, with a successful outcome, so I thought it would make an interesting story to tell.

My wife helped find a villa in Lovina for one of our guests. They lived happily in the villa for two weeks. One day they went out for lunch and when they came back all of their electronic goods had been stolen – laptop, mobile phones, iPads and some cash.

Bali crime burglar

The owner, village head, the police and my wife were all called. The police took a long time to come, but fortunately my knows a police officer with some authority in Singaraja and they were there in 10 minutes. The guests had the “where is my ipad” installed and it was pointing to a location in central Singaraja.

They found one of the iPads in the hands of a mobile phone shop seller in Singaraja. He was trying to unlock it when they entered the shop. He got quite a shock to see the police turn up at his shop. He said he bought the iPad (mini) for 500,000 rupiah. Of course he feigned ignorance of it being stolen, even though it was sold locked and without the necessary accessories.

To save himself from getting into trouble he agreed to help catch the thief. The shop owner said the thief would be bringing in the rest of the items the next day to sell. Fortunately, they caught him the next day trying to sell the rest of phones and tablets.

He said the needed money for his baby’s three month ceremony and pleaded for forgiveness. He is unemployed but was trying to find a job. He seemed to get some sympathy and could have been released if the victim didn’t pursue the case. He wasn’t known to police but one of his own family members described him as a “bandit”.

As the police were questioning him and making a statement he managed to escape.

It was the worst move he could have made. With no money to get away, the police picked him up the next day. The police now were not so sympathetic. The good news is that they recovered all of stolen items, the bad news is that they now have to be held by the police for around two months as evidence.

From this experience:

– I believe that contacting police to report a problem, can be effective – they may just need some prodding.

– If you plan on living in Bali for some time, it is good to get to know some police officers.

– Make sure you have a where’s my ipad (http://www.apple.com/icloud/find-my-iphone.html) type app installed on your electronic devices. It’s probably a good idea to have a record of the serial numbers also just in case.

– Criminals in Bali don’t always come from other islands like some people seem to believe.

– Be wary of people visiting or looking into your villa. The robber apparently spoken with the victim, making chit chat on the morning they were robbed.

– If you have CCTV make sure it is working (it wasn’t on the day of robbery).

I am extremely proud of my for the way she handled the case, dealing with the police and facing a desperate criminal. If you ever get into trouble in Indonesia, I couldn’t imagine anyone better to have on your side. And if you do need someone you can contact her through her website: Bali Lawyer

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