The Maritime Security Board (Bakamla) of Jakarta, Indonesia has reached out to several telecommunication companies to help with its investigation into the theft of fiber optic cables recently found in the possession of eight alleged looters.

BakamlaThe cables, which stretch 3.2 kilometers long and ran from the Riau Islands to Singapore, are believed to be worth nearly $400,000, but no one seems to know who they belong to.

“We have called several communication providers that are known to have underwater fiber optic cables and asked them to check whether the stolen cables belong to them,” Bakamla head Vice Admiral Arie Soedewo told The Jakarta Post. The providers include telecommunication companies Telkom, Matrix and Transmitra.

The fiber optic cables had been cut into 800 pieces weighing around 12 tons.

"The perpetrators said they were going to sell [the pieces] to a buyer in Bangka Belitung. We are still investigating the matter by involving the National Police's Criminal Investigation Department [Bareskrim]," said Arie.

Bakamla personnel arrested eight people in the waters of Tanjung Berakit, Bintan, Riau Islands, on May 26, 2018 after discovering undocumented fiber optic cables on their ship. During their search, Bakamla personnel also found compressors, diving gear and a hose.

Anton, one of the suspects, said he and his crew were paid Rp 2,500 (18 US cents) for each kilogram of cable they delivered.

“We did not receive a salary, but we got paid based on how much cable we manage to steal,” he said.