Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA) - Four pickpockets from a syndicate based in Jakarta who were targeting spectators of the 2021 World Superbike (WSBK) race in Mandalika Circuit, West Nusa Tenggara, have been apprehended by local police officers.

Police confirmed that the pickpocket syndicate planned to invite overseas pickpocket syndicates during the 2022 MotoGP competition hosted at the same circuit.

"They have a plan to invite overseas pickpocket syndicates from Malaysia, Turkey, Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines, to act in the 2022 MotoGP," West Nusa Tenggara Police's Director of General Criminal Investigation Police, Senior Commissioner Hari Brata, said in Mataram on Tuesday.

Their plan was unraveled by the police after their arrest, and four more suspects from a second syndicate were apprehended following the questioning of the first four suspects, he informed.

"The first gang of four committed their acts on Sunday (November 21, 2021), and we currently have two crime scenes in Mandalika Circuit and Epicentrum Mataram Mall with four cellphones as the crime evidence," Brata said.

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The first pickpocket group has been identified as DC (45), his wife LA (41), his daughter DA (24), and AW (34), their relative.

They were apprehended after one of their members was caught in the act at a spectator tribune in the Mandalika Circuit on Sunday, Brata said.

The second syndicate was caught stealing a cellphone from a Japanese journalist on Saturday (November 20, 2021), he added. The stolen cellphone that was confiscated from them implicated them in the crime, he informed.

The police investigation revealed that each syndicate member had distinct tasks to execute the crime, Brata said. To assist the main executor, other members created a distraction and served as trace removers, he added.

The suspects blended in with the surroundings and exploited the crowded situation, he said adding, they often targeted women and those who were easily distracted by their tactics.

The pickpockets have been taken to the West Nusa Tenggara Police Detention Centre, he said. Police are continuing investigations into the case by coordinating with Riau Islands Police that has jurisdiction over the region where the suspects are also active, he added.

"Those pickpockets are part of international pickpocket syndicates that are often committing their acts in Batam region. Our investigation also revealed that they are also active in Macau, Singapore, and the Sepang Circuit in Malaysia," the senior commissioner said.

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Translator: Dhimas Budi P, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Suharto
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