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To Catch a Thief

Practical Tips on How to Avoid Thieves Conducting Rash of 'Snatch & Run' Attacks on Bali Bank Customers.

(10/26/2009) A wave of snatch and run robberies targeted on people who have just taken large sums of cash from a bank, have prompted the Bali police to call on the public to be extremely careful when carrying large sums of money, taking precautionary steps to prevent future robberies.

The modus operandi of those preying on bank and money changer customers entails observing customers withdrawing large sums and then following them to a location where the tires of the victim's vehicle can be punctured, setting the stage for the thieves to snatch the money.

We hope the following information, gathered from police sources, is of use.

Modus Operandi of Tire Puncture Gangs

The robbers typically work as a pair, traveling on a motorcycle.

One of the group will observe customers at local banks or money changers in order to identify a potential victim.

The robbers use special hollow nails to puncture tires.

They typically plant their nail at a traffic light.

Using a rubber sandal to camouflage the nail, the sandal is typically laid in front of one of the rear tires of the victim's vehicle.

There appears to be a preference for puncturing the rear left tire, perhaps because this is less easily observed by the driver.

Victims who place large amounts of money from the bank in a handbag appear to be preferred targets.

Preventative Steps You Can Take

Here's a brief list of steps you can take to protect yourself:

Whenever possible, make payments of large amounts by crossed check or bank transfer.

Ask the police or a security guard (SATPAM) to accompany you when carrying large sums of money.

Pay attention to pedestrians or motorcyclists who approach the left back corner of your vehicle at a stop light.

If your tire suddenly does go flat, stop at a busy area or pull in to the parking area of a local company. Yes, if needed, you can drive on the rim for several kilometers.

If you get out of your car to change the tire, lock the doors and weigh whether it is better to bring the money with you.

Always be aware of the situation surrounding you and don't hesitate to ask assistance from local people.

In Indonesian the word to scream for "thief" when raising an alarm is "maling" (pronounced : mall ing).