This article originally appeared on VICE Indonesia.
Two thieves who successfully evaded law enforcement officers for nine years were finally arrested on Aug. 23. They claimed that they managed to get away with the crimes for so long because of the Primbon, an ancient Javanese almanac that contains prophecies and guides for pretty much anything you’d want to do in life.
Rudianto, 39, one of thieves who goes by only one name, believes his crime streak with partner M. Adnan Rifai, 27, came to an end because he accidentally miscalculated whether it was safe for him to attend a friend’s wedding in Pakis, Magelang.
“I attended my friend’s wedding, where police arrested me. Based on the calculations of the Javanese calendar, I shouldn’t have gone to Pakis, but I went anyway,” Rudianto told local media. His accomplice, Rifai, had already been arrested.
Rudianto and Rifai said they had robbed 28 locations across Central Java and Yogyakarta. At a press conference, Rudianto explained how he determined the dates to commit robberies.
“I use pitungan, a Javanese counting system. The calculations are based on the name of the village. So for instance, if it’s Kliwon Friday (a date on the Javanese calendar), then there are eight Fridays, eight Kliwons, so that’s 16. Then let’s say the village’s name is Magelang. Those letters correspond to Hanacaraka Datasalawa Padhajanya Magabathanga in the Primbon, which adds up to 18. Add that to 16 and you get 34, then divide that by 7,” Rudianto explained in a way that only true Primbon enthusiasts would understand. Basically, each day and each letter corresponds to a certain value that Rudianto and Rifai used in committing crimes.
After they calculate the date on which to commit a robbery, he then calculates which door he should exit from and which doors to avoid. Rudianto said the Primbon even includes instructions to calculate the exact ideal time to commit a robbery.
Which ancient Javanese mystics took it upon themselves to write all this?
But regardless of whether the Primbon method of calculation is effective or not, Assistant Chief of Magelang Police Ngadisa, who goes by only one name, said the duo managed to rob 31 sites in six cities over nine years.
“Based on our investigation, it appears they went after electronics like cell phones, TVs, and laptops,” Ngadisa told local media.
That’s a lot of loot.