Police launched an investigation into the disappearance of more than 30 manhole covers in the Thawi Watthana district of Bangkok. Officers conducted raids on a number of scrap dealer shops in the capital to recover the stolen items to no avail.
The Director of Thawi Watthana district, Dicha Kongsi, filed a complaint with Thammasara Police Station after receiving reports of missing manhole covers, which are circular metal sheets with a diameter of 86 centimetres and a weight of 70 to 80 kilograms, typically found on a roadside.
Khaosod reporters conducted an on-site visit to Soi Thawi Watthana 55, one of the roads where the manhole covers had been stolen. There, they met with district engineer Thanakrit Ritbanjong and his team, who were using wooden planks to cover the manholes temporarily to prevent pedestrians from falling into the holes.
Thanakrit informed Khaosod that the district office received complaints from residents about the stolen covers three weeks ago. Similar incidents were reported in several areas of the district, including Suan Pak Road, Thawi Watthana-Kanchanapisek Road, Phutthamonthon Sai Sam Road, Liap Khlonh Thawi Watthana Road, and Bang Waek Road.
Thanakrit reported that the team received some leads from a restaurant owner who witnessed the theft. The witness reported seeing men in a black Isuzu D-Max pickup truck parked outside his restaurant stealing the manhole covers.
The restaurant owner went to check, but the thieves shone a spotlight in his face so he could not see their faces and made an escape.
Thanakrit said added that some of the areas where the thefts occurred have security cameras, which could provide valuable evidence for the police investigation.
Officers from the Thammasara Police Station are currently investigating scrap merchant shops in the area in the hope of finding evidence that the stolen manhole covers were sold to them. Police have also warned scrap buyers of the legal consequences of buying stolen goods and urged them to report any useful information to the authorities.
The theft of public property, as in this case, is a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment from one to five years and a fine ranging from 20,000 to 100,000 baht, according to Section 335 (10) of the Criminal Law.
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