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Phuket ATM robbers were “amateurs’, says expert

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: A welding expert today branded the thieves who last week used a blowtorch to steal 1.6 million baht from an ATM at Phuket’s Boat Lagoon as “amateurs”.

Stuck for clues in tracking down the bandits, Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Commander Serm Kwannimit today brought welding expert Wisut Pumsiri to inspect the scene of the crime (story here).

“I believe the thieves spent more than 40 minutes breaking into the ATM, which makes me think they were not professional welders,” Mr Wisut told the Phuket Gazette.

“It would have taken a professional only about 20 minutes,” he added.

Mr Wisut, who has 20 years of experience in welding, pointed out many cut lines on the outside of the ATM.

“This shows they had no plan of how to start cutting through the steel. Also, the blowtorch they used is easy to order from websites and easily found at local stores,” he added.

Col Serm reported that CCTV footage confirmed that two men were involved in the robbery. However, the CCTV camera was too far away to catch clear enough images for police to identify the suspects.

“We believe the thieves were the same people who unsuccessfully tried to rob an ATM near an intersection on Thepkrasattri Road in Thalang at 1:20am the same day,” Col Serm said.

“CCTV footage recorded two men making the attempted robbery. One of the men was carrying a backpack, and we believe there was a blowtorch inside the bag,” he added.

Col Serm declined to reveal any other lines of investigation into the robbery.

“We will continue our investigation by trying to identify the people in the CCTV images captured in Thalang and we will question more witnesses,” Col Serm said.

Additional reporting by Kritsada Mueanhawong

— Irfarn Jamdukor


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