Hotel thieves nabbed at airport

PATONG: A 20-year-old man and a 14-year-old girl were arrested at Phuket International Airport January 10 while in possession of more than 250,000 baht’s worth of Swiss francs and a digital camera they had stolen from a couple staying in Patong.

Duty Inspector Pol Lt Col Pisit Chunpet, of Kathu District Police Station, said the thieves, whom he declined to name, were from Bangkok and arrived in Phuket January 7.

They checked into the Grand Tropicana Hotel, but checked out about 7 pm the same day and checked into Patong Beach Bungalows, where Hanh Rudolf Burkhard, 58, and his wife were also staying.

About 9 pm on January 9, Mr Burkhard and his wife went out to dinner. When they returned to their bungalow shortly after midnight, Col Pisit said, they found that it had been broken into, and a 13,000-baht digital camera and the key to their box in the hotel safe (in the reception area) had been stolen.

The thieves had used the key to steal 8,340 Swiss francs (about 240,000 baht) and US$5 (about 180 baht) from the safe. The receptionist who allowed them to open the safe told police that he thought the couple were staying in the room since they had the key, Col Pisit said.

Police identified the thieves on the hotel’s closed-circuit camera recordings and searched their room, where they found a backpack still bearing airport security stickers which contained a photograph of the man.

“After seeing the airport security stickers, I deduced that the culprits had probably flown here,” said Col Pisit. “I therefore sent the picture to police at the airport and told them to be on the lookout for the pair.”

Police at the airport arrested the suspects just after 9 pm on January 10. They were taken to Kathu District Police Station, where they were both charged with theft.

Col Pisit said that he found a digital camera and the 8,340 Swiss francs stolen from Mr Burkhard’s safe in their baggage, along with 75,000 baht in cash. Mr Burkhard’s money and camera were returned to him the same evening.

Col Pisit said the pair admitted that they had stolen the money, and that they had also confessed to breaking into a room while staying at the Grand Tropicana.

The couple said they had also stolen an ATM card and the pin number, which was written down next to the card, and used it to withdraw cash before destroying the card, Col Pisit added.

Phuket News

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