Who is Mae Moo?

Sunday 7 January 2024

Marriage blues; golden luck; teen gun folly; bored thief

Old man has head turned

The shop where Somchai was caught

An old man in Sing Buri infatuated with a neighbour young enough to be his daughter has been warned by his elderly wife that if he carries on, she will lay a complaint with police.

This is the least of his indignities: Somchai Sriyotha, 83, has also been banished from home owing to a compulsive petty thieving habit.

A shopkeeper on the Sing Buri-Lop Buri Road in Muang district last week called police after catching Mr Somchai helping himself to 3,000 baht of the shop’s cash. She said she did not want to take legal action, given the man’s age. However, she did want police to give him a stern warning.

It is a message the police have heard previously, as Mr Somchai has a history of petty theft from shops near home. He steals so he can present the proceeds to a young neighbour with whom he is infatuated.

None of his shopkeeper victims have taken legal action, as they take pity on his plight, but they have banned him from their shops. His long-suffering wife, Yupa, 81, meanwhile, goes from shop to shop offering compensation for the goods he has stolen.

Police did as they were asked after his latest exploits, delivering another strong warning not to do it again, and Mr Somchai once again vowed he would behave. However, when police took him home, his wife Yupa was not happy to see them.

“Why have you brought him back here?” she asked. “What has he done this time, and why don’t you lay charges?” she asked impatiently.

Ms Yupa explained that she had booted her husband out of their home as his habit of stealing extended to their own belongings, too. He had taken food, gold, and even old corrugated iron and wood to present to his lady love in the hope the gifts would impress her.

Ms Yupa grew tired of his petty pilfering so banished him from home. She bought him a mosquito net and mattress so he could sleep outside, but the old man, undeterred, would still try to break in. However, after being banned from home as he largely is these days, Mr Somchai started thieving from nearby shops instead.

Police persuaded Ms Yupa to call the couple’s son to see if he could help, but media reports say he was no less fed up with his father’s conduct. Both wanted police to take action against the old man.

His wife vowed: “I want the police to take action, but if they won’t, I will file a complaint myself, as he is always stealing money and hitting me.”

The couple, Ms Yupa said, are originally from Ratchaburi but when their adult children found jobs in Sing Buri, they moved there.

Their children built a home for their parents, and drop in to see them, but this attention is not enough for Mr Somchai, whose head was turned by a young woman down the road.

The young woman plays a small role in this kitchen sink drama, as reporters found the house empty when they went to see her. However, neighbours denied she had taken anything from the old man.

Back to the happy couple, police had to spend some time talking to Ms Yupa and her son out of their desire to proceed with legal action. When reporters went back for another visit later in the week, things were little improved.

They found Mr Somchai was still forced to sleep outside. Ms Yupa said she caught him at 5am that day, about to head out for one of his sorties to nearby shops, but she put a stop to it.

“I threatened him and said he would have to stay at home for the next 2-3 days or I would tell the police,” she said.

A valuable lesson
Wandee’s grandson taking the rubbish bag with the gold out to the bin.

A Rayong woman has been reunited with valuables worth half a million baht after her grandson accidentally threw them in the rubbish.

Wandee Sengsuay, 61, placed her valuables including gold of 40 baht weight and a two karat diamond ring in a bag which she set down at home, though one media report said she absent-mindedly placed it outside the front door. She put the valuables inside two bags, with the outer bag being a black rubbish bag.

Her grandson, none the wiser, assumed it was intended for the rubbish, so took the bag outside and dumped it in a bin.

The bag ended up in the hands of a local garbage collector, who wandered by later that evening and took the bag home along with other discarded goods she found that night.

A CCTV camera caught her grandson wandering across the road with the bag. Umaporn Phetwangoh, 46, came by later that evening in a cart attached to a motorcycle, saw the bag, and put it in her cart.

Wandee Sengsuay
“I took it back home. It was so heavy that I assumed at first it was an old battery, but when I looked inside I found it stuffed with gold and other jewellery.

“I asked my husband to take a look and we were joking together that it must be fake for sure,” she told Pluak Daeng police, who tracked her down via a series of CCTV cameras to her home.

“I put the gold down, as I wasn’t interested in it. When the police came to see me and told me what happened, I almost fainted,” she said.

The police said they did not suspect the couple of theft, so they were not to worry. However, they did want the items returned.

They invited them to the station where police and the owner inspected the goods to make sure nothing was missing.

The police then handed the valuables back to a relieved Ms Wandee, whose reaction was no less shocked when she first discovered what her grandson had done with the bag.

“However, I kept my cool and contacted the police,” she said.

Ms Umaporn said she was happy the owner had been reunited with her valuables. “We would never want to profit from someone else’s misfortune,” she said.

Teen pays for aggression
The pen gun
A Pathum Thani teen who ordered a friend sitting behind him to pull out a gun during an argument with rivals is dead, after the gun went off by mistake.

Klong Luang police nabbed “B”, 15, for the accidental death of his 14-year-old mate, “A”, at the mouth of soi Erawan 28/1 on Dec 31.

They were part of a threesome, riding behind another lad on a motorcycle that evening when teens on another bike cut in front from the left lane.

The two groups started to argue and A, who was sitting in the middle of the two other lads on their bike, ordered B, who was sitting rearmost, to pull out his gun.

However, as B was pulling out the Thai-modified pen gun, it went off, shooting A in the nape of the neck. Rescue workers took him to hospital, but he died from his injuries.

Pol Col Kiattisak Mitprasat, head of the station, said police had studied the trajectory of the bullet, so knew that the teens on the other bike were not involved in A’s death.

“The bullet entered from the rear on the right side and travelled at an upwards angle, lodging on the left side of the skull. It could not have come from the bike on the left, which fled the scene,” he said.

B admitted what happened. He was charged with firearms offences and carelessness causing death.

Just a little memento
The thief breaking into the school.

An obliging thief in Satun uploaded his profile picture to the Facebook site of a school he had just robbed, boosting police chances of making a quick arrest.

The thief broke into Sri Aman Suksa School in Muang district on Jan 3. CCTV cameras show him climbing in the window of an administration office, where he found a bunch of keys and calmly let himself into one room after another.

Sunthorn Wongmadthong, who holds the school operating licence, says the thief tried a school piggy bank, though a teacher had fortunately deposited most of the cash with a staff cooperative shortly before. “He took anything of value including spare cash he found, but didn’t want the computers, or he could have taken enough to fill a car,” Mr Sunthorn said. He caused damage worth about 1,000 baht.

“The thief also took a school phone linked to our main FB site. After leaving the school he took a picture of himself, still wearing the same outfit he wore for the robbery, and uploaded it as the school’s new profile picture.

“We can see his face clearly and can tell he is not a local. However, he should not be hard to find,” he said. News reports say police nabbed a 17-year-old for the robbery later the same day.

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