Banglamung police closed the first two of a rash of snatch-and-run robberies after the district’s new police chief created a task force to stem the rising tide of crime.
More than a half-dozen purse and jewelry snatches have been publicly reported since Nov. 17 but both of the arrests announced by Pol. Col. Pattanachai Pamornpiboon Jan. 7 were not reported by the media, indicating the petty crime problem is even more severe than thought.
Saksit Theppichai, 22, and his girlfriend Supranee Saardnet, 21, were charged with conspiracy to commit theft using a motorized vehicle. Officers seized Saksit’s gray Honda Scoopy, which was used in the Dec. 6 robbery of a Russian woman on Naklua Soi 14.
The police chief said the pair drove by and snatched the woman’s 60,000-baht designer purse with 600 baht inside.
Also arrested was Pansakorn Jitarsa, 18, who was charged similarly with robbing a Chinese tourist on Jan. 3, getting away with a handbag containing 10,400 Chinese yuan, 2,000 baht and a Huawei smartphone. Police recovered 3,882 of the yuan and the phone and seized the Honda PCX 150 used in the crime.
Pattanachai said the robberies are extremely damaging to the image of the Pattaya area and its tourism industry and, after taking over in early December, ordered various police divisions to come up with a plan to stop the crimes.
More patrols were begun in mid-December and the number of publicly reported thefts dropped off after six took place in the three weeks prior to his appointment.
More officers not only have been put on patrol, but extra resources added to catching the criminals at large, Pattanachai said.