In a rare act of vigilante justice, four expat surfers have captured a brazen thief responsible for a rash of burglaries at a popular wet-season surf spot on the Bukit peninsula. After more than a week of daily car and motorbike break-ins at their local surf spot, the expat surfers, who asked not to be identified by their real names, decided to take matters into their own hands and set up a sting operation.
“It was getting out of hand,” said Mr. X, one of the vigilante surfers. “The guy was breaking into motorbikes and cars every single day. It wasn't a one-time thing. My friend's car got ripped off twice in the same week.”
Last week, Mr. X, The Captain, Slice-and-Dice, and The Cameraman arrived at the surf spot car park before first light and staked out their hiding spots – Mr. X under a table in a warung, covered by a tablecloth and getting bit by mosquitos; The Captain in a foxhole covered by a rain poncho; Cameraman underneath a boardbag in a car; and Slice-and-Dice in the bushes.
“We scouted it out first,” Mr. X said. “We found the place in the bushes where the guy was sorting through all the stuff he stole and dumping what he didn't want. We hid in strategic positions around the car park so that we would have him surrounded. People were coming in and out, going surfing, and nobody could see us.”
Slice-and-Dice came ready for action, armed with a loaded spear gun. “He was out for blood since he'd had his stuff stolen twice,” Mr. X said. The Captain, who holds a double black belt in jiujitsu, also brought along a big stick for added measure.
The surfers hid out for about 45 minutes before their suspect arrived on a motorbike, accompanied by a woman. The man looked to be about 25, was large – over 80 kilos – and the surfers recognized him from the nearby village. The woman dropped him off and drove away.
“We had seen him twice before getting dropped off by a woman on a bike, and he looked sketchy,” Mr. X said. “Once his misses left he started scouting the place. He had a system going where he could see who was driving down the road and who was returning from the beach.”
As soon as the suspect broke into the first motorbike, Slice-and-Dice was on him with the speargun and the surfers surrounded him from all sides. The Captain and Mr. X immediately tackled him, Mr. X taking out his legs and the Captain putting him in a jiujitsu head lock.
“He was a big guy and he had nothing to lose,” Mr. X said. “We didn't want it to get into a brawl, so we finished it before it could even get started. He didn't want to give in, so we kept him pinned until he got tired out and then we strapped cable binders around his legs and tied his arms behind him with ropes.”
Jay Davies leaves his valuables back at the hotel. "Hey mate you got any wax?" Photo: Bosko
When it was all over, the suspect was hog-tied and covered in scratches, lying face down in the dirt. With all the screaming, the locals were soon on the scene.
“Half the village came down,” Mr. X said. “We told them we had caught a thief and to bring the Kepala Desa and the Banjar. Sure enough, the first big locals walked up with machetes. It was kinda heavy, but they actually just came to get some photos of themselves posing next to the thief all tied up on the ground.”
Eventually the Kepala Desa and the Banjar showed up, along with the police.
“We just said, 'We got the guy, now you take over from here,'” Mr. X said. “It's not our business anymore. The Kepala Desa said we should have come to the Banjar first, but if we waited around for them to do something the thief could have retired with everything he ripped off.”
The suspect was identified as a local man from the village, and the police escorted him back to the village to recover the stolen property from his burglaries. The surfers left before finding out how the Banjar would deal with the thief, but Mr. X said he has an idea.
“If he would have been from another island he probably would be dead right now,” Mr. X said. “When the younger guys from the village arrived, they were pretty fired up. They probably gave him a hell of a beating.”
Have you had your stuff stolen while surfing in Bali? Give others a heads up. Tell us where and when it happened in the comments section below or on the Balibelly.tv Facebook page.