Police bust romance scammer turned car thief, uncover trafficking gang
A police investigation into a romance scammer who stole cars from women has led to the arrest of a vehicle trafficking gang. Two women and one Thai man who trafficked stolen cars were arrested Friday.
Police officers arrested a romance scammer after eight victims filed a complaint that the man stole their cars. The conman, 26 year old Pheeraphat, created several fake profiles on dating apps under different names, like Aoom, Aum, Porches, Phat, Zack, and Rack, and then used these profiles to lure women into meeting him. He would then steal their cars while they slept.
Officers followed a line of investigation which led them to the people Pheeraphat sold the cars to, a family operating a massage parlour and garage in the Bang Bua Thong neighbourhood of Nonthaburi province near Bangkok.
During a raid of the massage parlour on Friday, May 5, police arrested the first suspect, 65 year old woman named Somnuek Khunthong. Five stolen cars were found behind the massage parlour including a black Toyota Vios sedan, a black Toyota City sedan, a white Nisson Almera sedan, a grey Toyota Yaris sedan, and a bronze Toyota Vios sedan. The cars were seized and will be returned to their owners.
Officers then raided a garage in the same area which belonged to another two suspects, 47 year old Rung Siboonpeng and Kanokwan Khunthong. Kanokwan is Somnuek’s daughter, while Rung is Somnuek’s son-in-law. Five other suspicious cars were discovered at the garage but Rung insisted that he bought them from a pawnshop.
Another suspect, 19 year old Naruemon Sangkanakara, who is a niece of Somnuek was allegedly involved as well.
The Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, Noppasin Poonsawat, told ThaiRath that the garage was equipped with everything needed to disassemble cars. He also revealed that more than five cars were delivered to the garage and massage parlour every week. Police believe they were acquired through Pheeraphat’s scam.
Noppasin added that the police did not believe in the accusation of Rung that the cars came from a pawnshop and would question each suspect in detail.
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