Spate of burglaries in Cherng Talay

CHERNG TALAY: Police are warning foreign residents with expensive homes to take greater security measures following a wave of burglaries that has seen some homes broken into as many as five times.

Cherng Talay Police Deputy Superintendent Pol Lt Col Suwat Kaewphrom told the Gazette today that there had been continuing reports of burglaries, but that the incidence of the break-ins was not unusually high.

However, some homes had been targeted on multiple occasions, and most of these belonged to foreigners, he said.

“It is part of Western culture that people don’t like to build high walls or fences around their properties,” he said, adding that the construction of expensive but poorly secured homes close to low-income public housing has created a situation ripe for thievery.

The burglars study the movements of police patrols making their rounds and are therefore able to avoid detection by the police, he added.

“Some homes have been burgled many times. This is because they are in quiet areas and are easy to break into. We tell the home-owners they can’t rely solely on the police, and advise them to install security systems such as alarms and closed-circuit TV cameras,” he said.

“We can’t catch every thief, nor can we assign all of our officers exclusively to areas where the break-ins are occurring because we have to police the entire district.”

Local residents have become exasperated and fearful at the increasingly brazen tactics of the thief or thieves, who come into their bedrooms at night while they are sleeping and rummage through bedroom drawers looking for cash and other valuables small enough to carry off.

One couple living in a detached home near Laguna told the Gazette that their home was first burgled last June, with 10,000 baht and a mobile phone being stolen. They were burgled again in early December, the thieves making off with the equivalent of 100,000 baht in foreign currencies.

There have been three more break-ins since then, with the thieves taking smaller amounts of cash. Most, though not all, of the break-ins occurred at night.

“One night they walked right into the house at 11 am. My girlfriend woke up and they ran off. Then they returned late the same night and stole 100 baht from right inside the bedroom while we were asleep,” the owner said.

The couple have since bought a dog and are planning to install sensors, floodlights and other home security devices.

Several neighboring houses had been broken into, along with homes in the nearby Lakeshore housing development, he said.

An American couple who have lived in the area for five years told the Gazette that their home was broken into once. The thieves came in through an open window in the early hours of Christmas morning and stole a laptop computer and three teddy bears belonging to the couple’s children.

“That confused us. They weren’t even new teddy bears,” said the wife.

“It’s very disturbing, especially the idea that someone’s been in the same room with you… this person is very light-footed. They are either unbelievably desperate or unbelievably bold,” she said.

“Several other houses in the area were burgled before us… they seem to be looking mostly for cash and small things. It all seems to happen while people are at home. I think it’s being done by the same person.

“I know of four houses, all near us, that were broken into before ours. Now they [the thief or thieves] seem to have moved to Lakeshore, where I have heard there were seven break-ins recently.

“We have a dog now. Everybody around here seems to be getting dogs,” she said.

Phuket Tourist Police Inspector Pol Maj Bundit Khaosutham told the Gazette that burglaries of homes fall outside the responsibilities of his unit.

“Even if we get a report of a break-in all we can do is provide translation services. The investigation is the responsibility of the local police station,” he said.

Phuket News
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