PHUKET TOWN: The police in Phuket Town were astonished when they managed to arrest three burglars who broke into the Phuket Provincial Cooperative Office’s store on Yaowarat Rd last Saturday and stole 59 boxes of Thai cigarettes worth about 897,000 baht. It wasn’t the theft that surprised them, nor the speed with which they caught the robbers – two on Sunday and the third on Monday – but the fact that one of the men arrested was a sitting member of the Tambon Administrative Council (OrBorTor) in Tambon Klongkian in Phang-Nga, while another was the owner of a prawn farm in Phuket’s Mai Khao area. Pol Lt Gen Veerasin Kwanseng, deputy superintendent of the Phuket Town Police Station, said that the Cooperative Office filed a theft report on Saturday afternoon, stating that the store had been broken into and 59 boxes of cigarettes were missing. The Phuket Town Police issued an alert to other police stations on the island. The following day, they received a message from the Tah-chatchai Police Station that two suspects had been stopped on their way to the Sarasin Bridge. In the back of their pick-up truck were 22 boxes of cigarettes. The driver of the pick-up was named as Kosard Masosot, 42, from Krabi. The passenger, named as Nuttapong Mandee, 43, is the owner of a prawn farm in Mai Khao District. The two later confessed that they had stolen the cigarettes from the Cooperative store. They also revealed the identity of their accomplice, Narasak Mutchawech, the OrBorTor member. Narasak was arrested in Khok Khloy, Phang-Nga, on Monday. In his car, the police found a further 30 boxes of cigarettes. The three are now in custody at the Phuket Town Police Station, awaiting trial.
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