Robbery the motive in Jakarta 'toilet murder'

Police at the house where six people died after being locked up in a toilet with five others.
Police at the house where six people died after being locked up in a toilet with five others.PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA/MEDAN • With all suspects caught and one person shot dead for resisting arrest, the Jakarta police said robbery was the sole motive behind the shocking "toilet murder" case in Jakarta.

Police on Sunday arrested a fourth suspect in Medan, Sumatra.

The statement from the police was made following public speculation about the case, where six died after 11 people were crammed into a tiny toilet with no ventilation on Dec 26 in the upscale neighbourhood of Pulomas, East Jakarta.

"Based on questioning, the evidence and profiling of the suspects, we have come to the conclusion that the motive was to carry out a robbery," said Jakarta police spokesman Raden Prabowo Argo Yuwono on Monday.

Police said they made their conclusion after arresting Ridwan Sitorus, alias Ius Pane or Yus Pane, at a bus station in Medan. Ridwan was released from prison in November 2015 after serving 41/2 years for armed robbery.


In the Boxing Day robbery said to be led by Ramlan Butarbutar - who was shot dead by police - Ridwan and two other alleged accomplices entered the house of tycoon Dodi Triyono and locked 11 people inside a 1.5m by 1.5m bathroom for 15 hours. The two alleged accomplices are Erwin Situmorang and Alfins Bernius Sinaga.

They then left with a Rolex watch and foreign currency worth about 60 million rupiah (S$6,450).

Six people died from suffocation, including Mr Dodi, 59.

The others who died were two of his daughters, aged nine and 16, the girls' female friend and Mr Dodi's two drivers.

"The case is pure robbery. Within just a week, Ridwan and his team robbed two other houses in different locations before they went to Pulomas," Jakarta police chief Mochamad Iriawan said.

Ramlan, Erwin and Alfins were tracked down two days after the Pulomas robbery in Bekasi, West Java.

There was widespread public speculation that the crime might have been a case of premeditated murder, as Mr Dodi was an architect and a property developer involved in strategic Jakarta development projects.

But Mr Iriawan said the gang was suspected of being involved in robberies in Purwakarta and Bogor, both in West Java.

The men have no previous record of killing their victims.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2017, with the headline 'Robbery the motive in Jakarta 'toilet murder''. Print Edition | Subscribe