Ilan police arrested three men on Friday on suspicion of stealing betel nuts valued at more than NT$10,000 (US$300) thanks to the quick thinking of a local policeman and the help of a little red spider.
Police arrived at the shop after receiving a call from shop workers, who said that three men had stolen three large bags of the popular nut from their store.
The shop workers provided police with a general description of the car and the last four numbers of the car’s license plate “6093.”
Police said they used the details provided by the workers and eventually identified a suspect named Chang Sheng-kai (張勝凱) by his car.
Chang was eventually tracked down by police, but when confronted he denied committing the robbery.
Police checked the trunk of Chang’s car to find it empty except for a little red spider.
A quick-witted officer then said to his colleague: “Isn’t that the type of spider that only lives in betel nut trees? How could this kind of spider get into this car?”
Chang, taken aback by the policeman’s apparent knowledge, then admitted to driving his two friends to rob the betel nut shop, the police said.
They said the man then took them to arrest the other suspectss, where they found the stolen nuts.
Officers said that the red spider, about the size of a green bean, actually lives on many different kinds of plants.
The owner of the betel nut shop later joked that he had never seen a red spider in all his years of cleaning and selling betel nuts.