Isan man arrested for stealing Greek tourist’s holiday money

PHUKET: Phuket Police has arrested and charged the man suspected of stealing €4,900 (about B182,400) from a Greek tourist’s car in late January. The suspect has already admitted committing the crime.

Tourist Police investigate the crime scene. Photo: Phuket Tourist Police

As reported previously, the victim – Alexandros Alexiadis, or just “Alex” – arrived in Phuket on Dec 26 with his wife Lesia and their three children: 14-year-old son Illia; 11-year-old daughter Liza; and their youngest, 5-year-old daughter Vasiliki. The family is due to fly home to Greece on Feb 25.

The family stayed in Karon Sub-District, namely in Kata Ocean View Condominium Phase 3. The Greeks kept their holiday cash in a rented car as condo staff said they were unable to open the safe in their residence. The option of placing the money in the management office safe was not suggested, leaving Alex not to know they had one. The cash was not left in the room either due to cleaning staff concerns.

On Jan 25 Alex parked his car in the parking lot and next morning found the cash gone.

I found the driver door partly open. At first I thought I probably left it unlocked, but I see now that the car autolocks if it is not driven,” Alex explained.

The car was parked in a blind spot from the development’s CCTV security cameras, yet other parts of the parking lot were covered by the CCTV.

The entrance [to the parking lot] is visible from the cameras but the car was parked in a blind spot,” he said.

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Having learned about the theft, the tourist offered a reward for the full or partial return of his holiday money but to no avail. As part of his efforts, Alex posted on the back window of the car a message in Thai saying, “You took all my money. i am here with family and three kids. if you want to return the money, you can keep some part and i will not involve you with the police.”

“I posted a copy of this on the car and everywhere in the parking area, because i wanted to touch his/her feelings,” Alex explained.

However, Alex and his family received B51,000 from an anonymous donor “to help the family for the remainder of their holiday”. The money was delivered by a representative from the ‘Knights Border’ Facebook page, which acts as a police and community support network. The donor, through the representative, expressed sympathy for the family and hoped that the money would help the children enjoy the remainder of their holiday and for the family to know that “Thais have not abandoned them”.

More good news followed later. On Feb 5, Phuket Police gathered enough evidence to get a warrant to arrest the suspect, Mr Kanaphong (First) Sakorncharoen from Udon Thani province. Around 5.00pm on the same day he was apprehended in front of a Family Mart store at the entrance of Soi Pramote off Chaofa West Rd in Chalong. The man was taken to Karon Police Station and charged with theft at night using a vehicle.

During the arrest and following procedures officers also seized €500 in cash (the leftover of the stolen foreign currency), a Phuket-registered Honda Scoopy motorcycle (the vehicle used to commit the crime), a black hoodie, trousers and Fila sneakers (worn by the suspect on the day of the incident).

Mr Kanaphong admitted committing the crime. The man explained that he noticed an unlocked car in the parking lot, got inside it and escaped with the cash found in the vehicle. Mr Kanaphong said he exchanged most of the money “for spending, until €500 was left”. It is not clear if the suspect has already spent the rest of the cash or some money is still intact in Thai baht.

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