Police arrested a Lampung, Sumatra, man on Saturday, May 6, after he allegedly stole parts of a Telkomsel cellular signal transmitter tower in Braja Mulya village.
“The suspect took the tower’s battery by opening the Base Transceiver System with wrenches,” Braja Selebah Police Chief Sudarli said, as quoted by Okezone.
The suspect removed eight batteries and took them in the car. Sudarli said the suspect took an additional four batteries from the same tower at an earlier date.
Locals spotted the suspect fleeing the scene and accused him of a variety of crimes, including theft and child abduction. He then sped up to escape, which caught the attention of police who caught the fleeing suspect and four others in Sukorahayu village.
Police confiscated 12 tower batteries, a variety of wrenches and a white Daihatsu car.
The theft of batteries from cellular towers is not a unique phenomenon. Earlier this year a similar crime occurred in Denpasar, Bali. The suspect in this case is believed to have stolen Rp.150 million (US$11,258) worth of batteries from a signal tower owned by Telkomsel.
A Telkomsel supervisor identified as Miswanto reported the theft to Denpasar Police, who investigated.
Similarly, a case in Malang, East Java, in January saw three former cellular tower installers turn criminal after stealing eight batteries from a Smartfren tower.
A booming black market for stolen batteries sees thieves fetching up to Rp.5 million (US$375.50) per unit.
Image credits: Voice & Data