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Two Men in Indonesia Were Arrested for Stealing Parts of a Bridge to Buy Drugs

They allegedly stole dozens of metal plates.

by Meera Navlakha
13 September 2019, 11:17am

Not the actual bridge. Photo by Ian Mustafa via Unsplash.

Bridges are built so people can safely travel from one part of a city to another, but two men in Indonesia seem to think it's OK to risk people's lives to fund their drug and online gambling habits.

On Wednesday, officials from the Riau Police General Crime Division in the city of Pekanbaru announced that they arrested two men who allegedly stole bolts and metal plates from the Siak IV Bridge, which was opened to the public in February 2019. They found the men in their “hiding place” near the bridge, according to Julius Sitanggang, the Head of Crime and Violence Unit in Riau province.

The two suspects, known as Denny, aged 26, and Rangga, aged 18, were allegedly selling these parts to a used metal collector in the Rumbai district. They said that there are two others involved in the crime, both of whom are now on the police’s most-wanted list

They stole around 1.8 tonnes of metal from the bridge and were in possession of at least 36 metal plates, which they sold for under the market value at Rp125,000 (US$8.91) each. They used their earnings for meth and online gambling, website Hallo Riau reported.

“The plates affected [the bridge’s] resistance and quality. For example, a bridge that is supposed to last for 10 years can last shorter than that if the important parts are stolen,” said Sittanggang.

This incident comes months after authorities considered closing the Siak IV Bridge temporarily because about 100 bolts were found missing in April. There were also other forms of damage, with copper cables and steel parts sawed off.

According to the Jakarta Post, Denny and Rangga will both be charged with Article 363 in the Criminal Code on thievery. They could face imprisonment of seven years.

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