A 57-year-old man who has serious online gambling debts attempted to steal a donation box this morning from his local temple but was caught on CCTV and by the assistant Abbot in the act.
At 7:00 AM this morning, December 1st, 2019, police were called to Eat Yao Intharam and told that the monks had caught a man stealing their donation box, which had about three thousand baht inside.
Assistant Abbot Chao Khun Tong Phra Chai Sittisunthorn greeted police upon arrival where he and other monks were sitting with Mr. Ekkarat Banluerit, 57. The monks stated the suspect had stolen their donation box earlier that morning while most monks were out on alms.
Mr. Banluerit at first denied the charges until the assistant Abbot showed police CCTV which clearly showed him in the act of stealing the box. At this point, the suspect allegedly admitted the act and stated he was deep in gambling debt and made a desperate decision.
However, the monks stated that Mr. Ekkarat had been known to them for years and had helped the temple on many occasions. They asked police not to arrest him and instead had the suspect perform an elaborate ritual swearing to a spirit allegedly resting in the temple, Tak, that the man would never steal again.
After the ritual, Mr. Ekkarat apologized and waied all the monks and was released. He was not charged, per the monks request.