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Phuket Police arrest snatch thief in Patong



PHUKET: Phuket Police yesterday arrested a man for a snatch-and-ride robbery in Patong the night before.

Police identified the suspect as 21-year-old Manop Rakharp.

The arrest followed a complaint by Teerawat Pansopa, 23, that a man on a Yamaha Fino motorbike snatched his bag as he walked along Sirirat Road in Patong at about midnight on Wednesday.

The white bag contained an iPhone 4, two ATM cards and 2,500 baht in cash, Mr Teerawat said.

Subsequent investigation revealed that the motorbike used in the robbery belonged to a woman named Wimonrat Wangsuri.

Officers went to question her at about 4:30pm yesterday, just as she and Mr Manop were returning home.

The officers searched the suspect’s body and found an unregistered Thai-style handgun tucked inside his trousers at the waist.

An iPhone 4 matching the description of that reported stolen was discovered inside the house, while a white bag was found behind building.

Despite the evidence, Mr Manop denied robbery charges.

The gun belonged to a friend who gave it to him as collateral for a 3,000-baht loan made two months ago, he claimed.

Mr Manop told the Phuket Gazette he had been arrested once before on robbery charges and was currently working in the fishing industry.

Ms Wimonrat told police that Mr Manop returned home on the motorbike at about 1am on Thursday.

He told her he lent the motorbike to a friend who gave him the iPhone in return.

Police seized the iPhone and motorbike as evidence and called Mr Theerawat to Patong Police Station to identify and reclaim his goods.

Mr Manop now faces charges of armed robbery and illegal possession of a firearm.

— Atchaa Khamlo


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