Thief preys on N. Pattaya food vendors

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Police are looking for a man wanted for stealing handbags from North Pattaya food vendors.

Police were called Aug. 25 to a construction site behind Central Center on Phettrakul Road where Nonglak Thammalit, 35, said a customer had stolen her purse containing 3,000 baht, mobile phone, credit cards and various documents.

She said the man, about 175 cm. tall and in his 30s, had been a customer previously and this time had ordered three meals to go. While she was cooking, he grabbed her bag lying nearby and ran off.

As they questioned Nonglak Tongbeng, a 50-year-old fruit vendor, who told police a similar story.

Two days earlier, she said, a man came to buy a durian with a 1,000 baht note. Both seller and customer said they didn’t have change, so the suspect offered to take Tongbeng to his apartment where he had change. She left her handbag with a friend and rode off with the man.

At the apartment house, he dropped her off and said his foreign girlfriend would come down to pay, and then sped off, leaving her there. She waited some time before realizing she had been set up.

She returned to her fruit cart to find that the suspect had returned first and told the friend holding her purse that Tongbeng had asked him to bring it to her. The friend handed over the purse to the stranger.

Police are checking CCTV cameras to try and identify the thief and warned vendors to be more careful with their valuables.