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Rescue worker arrested for gold shop robbery

A former rescue worker was arrested in Hat Yai district of Songkhla for the armed robbery of a gold shop at Big C superstore in Pattani’s Muang district on Monday night.

He was identified and tracked from security camera footage showing the robber withdrawing money at an ATM and removing his face mask to have a drink of water before the holdup.

The suspect, identified as Ananthachai Wanchanhom, 37, of Samut Songkhram province, was arrested in front of Boomerang shop on Niphatpakdi Road in Hat Yai.

The suspect had until recently been a rescue worker in Pattani, according to TV Channel 7.

A man armed with a pistol robbed the Yang Hub Teng gold and jewellery shop in the Big C superstore in tambon Rusa Milae about 7pm on Monday.

Pol Col Yanpong Ubonban, the Muang Pattani police chief, said security camera recordings showed a man aged 25-35, about 170 centimetres tall and wearing a black shirt, black trousers, a wide-brim hat and a face mask.

He walked past the gold shop several times before going up to the counter and threatening the female employee with a handgun, believed to be a 9mm.

The robber grabbed gold necklaces from a showcase and ran out of the building, fleeing on a green Honda Wave motorcycle in the direction of downtown Pattani.

The thief had taken nine gold necklaces, 13 baht and 50 satang weight in total, worth about 418,000 baht.

Police investigators examined recordings from nearby security cameras.

A camera at a petrol station opposite Big C captured a man believed to be the robber withdrawing money at an ATM around 4pm on Monday before buying drinking water at a convenience store. The man removed his face mask and drank some water, clearly showing his face.

Police checked who withdrew the money at the time shown and identified the man.

They tracked his mobile phone signal to Songkhla, and on Tuesday Pattani court approved a warrant for his arrest.

Pol Lt Col Warisorn Matcha, deputy chief of the Crime Suppression Division sub-division 6, led CSD investigators and Pattani police to arrest Ananthachai Wanchanhom, 37, around 1.30am on Wednesday in Hat Yai.

Arresting officers found  three gold necklaces believed to have been stolen in the suspect’s possession, each one-baht-weight, police said.

During questioning, the suspect allegedly confessed to the robbery and said he had already sold some of the stolen necklaces for about 100,000 baht and spent the money.

Police took him to recover the stolen gold, and the gun and a vehicle used for the robbery.

Police seize gold three gold necklaces and other items from the alleged robber, during his arrest in Hat Yai, Songkhla, early Wednesday morning. (Photo: Abdullah Benjakat)front

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