[Cover Picture originally published by China Times.]
Police investigators in Taitung City located two suspects in a smash and grab robbery case today, and swooped in to arrest them while they were partaking in a temple procession. An angry crowd attempted to interfere in the arrest, leading cops to fire warning shots in the air to convince them back off.
Yesterday afternoon, December 19, two suspects used an ax to smash a jewelry shop window in downtown Taitung City. The thieves, dressed in black, and wearing full-faced motorcycle helmets, grabbed a gold statue of the goddess Guanyin worth NT$640,000, then jumped on a scooter, and sped away from the scene of the crime.
Police investigators traced the crime to two minors who are members of a Zhen Tou (陣頭) temple troupe.
Plainclothes police officers today mingled among worshipers attending a temple procession involving around 100 troupe members. After identifying the suspects, the officers went in to make the arrest.
The police were immediately encircled by an angry crowd of shouting and heckling troupe members. At least two officers raised their pistols and fired warning shots in the air before the crowd dispersed.
After an interrogation of the teenage suspects it was discovered that there were five people involved in the heist, three of whom were minors. The statue was recovered from the trunk of a scrapped car.