Peg-leg snatcher in the slammer

BANGKOK: A two-month, 10-victim purse-snatching spree in Bangkok ended on May 17 with the arrest of a one-legged thief who used a motorcycle to make his getaways. Payao Thongpong, 30, after grabbing the purse of his latest victim, rode his motorcycle practically into the hands of police at a checkpoint, where officers had been given his description. Payao told police that his left leg was amputated when he was 16, making it difficult for him to pursue an honest profession. “I once worked as a motorbike taxi driver, but was not successful because the customers seemed to prefer able-bodied drivers over an amputee,” he said. His economic status improved after turning to purse-snatching, which earned him as much as 10,000 baht per theft. He said that he often targeted female office workers who looked lost in thought and neglected to guard their valuables.

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