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Journalist Arrested For Stealing Smartphones At Bali Airport

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An online journalist named Mubinoto Amy has been arrested on suspicion of stealing two smartphones from the bathroom of the domestic arrivals terminal at Bali Airport. Amy, aged 40, was arrested on Saturday 4th June, following an incident that was reported to Ngurah Rai’s Airport Police late at night on Wednesday 1st June. 

On the 1st of June, Roger Paulus Silalahi, aged 52, entered the toilets at Bali Airport’s domestic arrivals terminal. He was carrying on him two smartphones, one is thought to be his personal phone, the other his work device; one an iPhone X and another iPhone 11 Pro Max.

He is said to have put the two phones on the sideboard while he was using the bathrooms and left without picking them up. He realized his mistake as he stood outside waiting for his taxi to arrive. He ran back to the bathrooms only to discover that both his phones were already gone. 

He immediately alerted the Angkasa Pura security team who scoured the CCTV footage they had available to them. They were unable to identify who had snatched the phones, by this time both devices were turned off, and Find My Phone was not able to detect any signal. 

With little more that could be done late at night, Silahali returned to his home. On Friday morning he went back to the airport to lodge a case with the Airport Police Chief, Ida Ayu Wikarniti. The airport police unit worked with the regional police departments to coordinate an investigation to track down the thief and locate the phones. 

Using location services the phones were tracked down to the Jalan Laksamnana VIII area in East Denpasar. The police were able to make an arrest there and then, as they were able to identify the Mubinoto Amy from airport wide CCTV footage.

He claimed to be a journalist for an Indonesian newspaper. During questioning, Amy called upon two witnesses by the names of Wei and Typhoon. Amy claims that it was Typhoon who initially snatched the phone, though they were found in his possession. 

Police are still treating Wei and Typhoon as eyewitnesses and have charged Amy with Article 362 of the Indonesian Criminal Code. He will wait to be seen by a judge and will face up to five years in prison for theft.

The police said ‘…the point is, if there was a good intention from the start, he should have immediately reported it to security or the police’ suggesting that they believed that although Amy acted on an opportunity, that he was at the airport with the intention to commit a crime.

In recent weeks there have been several reports of pickpocketing and bag snatching at Bali Airport. A Russian tourist had his laptop bag stolen from the Starbucks at the domestic terminal. Police managed to arrest the serial thief and retrieve the stolen items. As international travelers return to the island and as domestic arrival numbers continue to climb, criminals who previously operated in the area will likely start to return too.

Bali Airport security staff work tirelessly to ensure that Bali Airport is a safe place for all. That being said, travelers are reminded that it is their personal responsibility to keep their luggage safe and secure while they are in the airport. 

Travelers are encouraged to keep their possessions in sight at all times, including when standing in line to order food or drinks at cafes. Before leaving any area of an airport always check that everything is in its correct space.

Bali Airport Thief Arrested For Theft Of Russian Tourist's Bag

Airport security should be alerted as soon as possible after an incident has occurred. Bali is a safe and welcoming place for people from all over the world, sadly, opportunist thieves will strike where they can. As Bali Airport becomes increasingly busy, security staff will increase their surveillance operations and make their presence felt to help deter thieves from the area.

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Karen North

Tuesday 7th of June 2022

How quickly they can act. I had my car stolen from my villa 6 years ago. I have a book full of documents and photos proving who stole my car and that it was kept and used by those people. I have Court Orders that prove the car is mine and details the theft. Yet for me slowly, slowly. Maybe because one of the thieves has a brother in a certain occupation?