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Sunday 11 December 2022

Theft victim turns sleuth, drinking novice, scared legless

Have tech, will follow

The driver’s window of Ton’s car was smashed to steal the belongings inside

A man who fell victim to a robbery in Samut Sakhon was able to use a GPS tracking device to find the stolen items, and with the police’s help confront the thief at his home.

Chawakorn “Tim” Dangkosin last week posted a TikTok clip of the police arresting the thief at his home in Bang Mod district. It follows the Nov 28 theft outside a convenience store in Muang district, Samut Sakhon.

Mr Tim, who was posting on behalf of theft victim Ton, a friend of his, said Ton had just finished a workout at a fitness centre and was heading home when he stopped at the store to buy supplies.

While he was inside the thief smashed the driver’s window of his car, grabbed his blue shoulder bag, iPad and brand name wallet with 5,000 baht.

Ton alerted Bang Nam Chuet police to the theft. However, he and his mates decided to do some sleuthing of their own, which was to lead them to the thief’s home before police found it.

Ton and his mates tracked down the thief via Apple’s Find My app, which allows customers to find their devices in the event they go missing or are stolen, via their GPS signal.

While there was no signal from the iPad, they did pick up a signal from Ton’s AirPods (wireless Bluetooth earbuds). They tracked them from the scene of the robbery to Indy market in Phra Ram II, and from there to an apartment in soi Phutthabucha 23, Bang Mod.

They travelled to the apartment and asked the owner if they could look at his CCTV. The images showed a man wearing a crash helmet entering about 1.06am on Nov 29, and carrying a blue shoulder bag which Ton identified as his own. They called Rat Burana police, who sent officers to investigate.

When police entered the thief’s room they found him seated with a young woman whom he claimed was his daughter. He had the AirPods in his ears, but initially denied stealing them.

However, when Ton walked in and confronted him, insisting the blue shoulder bag and listening devices were his own, the suspect admitted the theft. His name was not given in news reports.

Ton, who said he and his friends posted the clip to help others who may fall victim to similar thefts, did not get all his stolen belongings back.

The thief ironically claimed he was worried someone would track down the iPad via GPS so ditched it en route (Ton believes he actually sold it). He did not appear to realise that AirPods could also be tracked the same way.

Ton also failed to get back the cash, which he suspects the thief spent before he returned home that night. Police charged the suspect with theft and damaging other people’s assets.

Drinking row turns fatal
A piece of wood with a nail sticking out was used to hit Prakob’s head.

A Buri Ram youngster who hit a drinker in his village when he came under pressure to pay for his alcohol says he did not expect the blow would kill him.

Nang Rong police arrested Sitthichart “Bank” Prapa, 27, after he hit Prakob Chanakul, 55, over the head with a piece of wood, killing him.

Mr Bank, who was new to his village, heard the sound of cheering on Dec 4 and wandered over to a local’s house for a look.

He found a group of about 10 people cheering a muay Thai match on TV. The drinkers, who meet there regularly, were passing around a shot glass of fiery white liquor, or lao khao.

Mr Bank, who joined the drinkers’ group and took his turn at the glass, said he found out later that each member of the group is asked to pay 20 baht whenever they need new supplies.

When the match ended, the group moved outside and resumed drinking. Three bottles down, they were starting to feel the effects.

The regulars started a collection to buy another bottle. Among them was the victim’s elder brother, Somkiart Chanakul, 58.

Mr Bank said Mr Somkiart and his mates handed him 40 baht and told him to go and buy a bottle, which costs 115 baht.

Perhaps taking advantage of his newcomer status, they expected him to pay for the other 75 baht himself. “That’s all the booze we need...I think you can buy it,” Mr Somkiart declared.

Mr Bank, who claims he had drunk just one shot glass, objected, and the two sides started to argue. He strode over to Mr Somkiart, who was lying on a wooden bed, and hit him three times in the face, knocking him to the ground.

In response, Mr Somkiart and his younger brother started attacking Mr Bank. Prakob hit Mr Bank twice in the face, while Mr Somkiart hit him with a piece of bamboo.

Mr Bank, who said he saw a piece of wood nearby with a nail sticking out, grabbed it and hit Prakob.
His friends took Prakob to a local hospital. He was later transferred to a bigger hospital to treat his injuries, including internal bleeding, but died the next day. 

Mr Bank fled home, where he was nabbed the next day by police. He said he did not intend to kill Prakob and was shocked to hear of his death.

As police arrested him, his mother embraced the young man in tears, saying she didn’t think her son would kill someone over such a small amount of money.

Relatives say the drinkers gather to cheer muay Thai every week, but this was Mr Bank’s first time.

“I can’t see why he had to get so bothered. Everyone contributes, but this guy would not put out a single baht. Someone abuses him and he responds by assaulting them,” one regular grumbled.

The victim’s wife, Chaluay Chanakul, 54, hasn’t been able to walk for 10 years after she was hit by lightning in a freak accident. She said Prakob looked after her well. “He drinks regularly but he never argued with anyone,” she said. Police charged Mr Bank with assault causing fatal injury.

Putting the pieces together
The legs found in the rubbish.

A rubbish scavenger in Ayutthaya fled in fright when he started sorting through waste in a municipal bin and thought he saw a human limb sticking out.

The man, described as an uncle-like figure in news reports, came across a white fertiliser bag early on Dec 4 and opened it only to find someone’s right leg protruding. He alerted locals and rescue workers and fled.

Rescue workers, police and local body officials inspected the find on Naresuan Road, near Bus Terminal 99.

The scavenger didn’t go himself, as he was too spooked by what he saw, or perhaps didn’t want to serve as a police witness to a grisly crime, reports said.

Chainarong Taeng-on, a rescue worker, said they found two fertiliser bags, tossed in a yellow rubbish bin belonging to the municipality.

“One of the bags was wide open and we saw a leg inside. We also found other body parts, and an ID card. That scared us, as we started to think the ID card belonged to the victim or perhaps even the offender,” he said later.

However, the initial shock abated when Mr Chainarong grasped the leg. He knew instantly it was not a human’s, but that of a rubber dummy or mannequin, the sort you see in shops displaying clothes for sale.

“We were relieved to find it was not a human limb but just part of an old dummy which the owner had thrown out,” he said.

The crowd of onlookers included Aunty Somkid, 69, who has been scavenging rubbish for years.

“I have made similar discoveries of body parts before, including sex dolls, and get a shock every time.

“I have even found bags of [fake] limbs hanging from a tree. I look up and in the darkness think they could be parts of a human body. I suspect the uncle who reported the find was new to the trade,” she said.

She asks people tossing out mannequins to dismantle or destroy the parts first to avoid such misunderstandings.

“This find gave me a particular fright as the way it was sticking out really did look as if it belonged to a person,” she added.

Mr Chainarong reckons the leg was worn out or broken so the owner decided to dump it, but didn’t bother doing up the bag.

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