Police shot two of four men in the legs to stop them escaping when they rounded up a gang of telecommunications cable thieves at Baluk in Jembrana last weekend.
But the other two men fled and have not been found.
The men had collected 250 metres of cable and hidden it in a river, but it was discovered last Saturday morning by a local man, Pande Made Murjana, who is also a Telkom employee. Murjana reported his find to police.
Police staked out the area and about 11.30pm that night saw four men pull the cable from the river and begin stripping it to salvage the copper wiring inside.
They waited until the men were concentrating on their task and then stormed the group. But they tried to flee and in the resulting melee one policeman received leg wounds from a sickle slash.
Police then shot two of the men. Their two companions escaped.
The wounded thieves, named by police as Mulyono, 22, and Wajimin, 41, both originally from Kejayang in Jember, East Java, had been living at a boarding house in Banjar Tengah, Negara.
Police said the gang had also stolen telecommunications cable in neighbouring Tabanan regency, where they sold it for Rp45,000 (US$4.90) a kilogram.
Evidence collected for investigation of the Jembrana offences includes 160m of cable, 55kg of copper, cutting and stripping implements, a chainsaw and a motorbike.
Police, who said the evidence so far collected indicated the crimes were estimated to be worth Rp31 million ($3,300), are looking for other suspects in addition to the two who escaped on Saturday night.