Somchai Laikhao, 48, was detained at Huay Yai Police Station today, August 16, for allegedly stealing donation money and holy amulets from Theppabut Temple in Chonburi.
Phra Somjate Techatharo, Acting Abbot of Theppabut Temple, reported to the police on Friday, August 14, that 200,000 baht of donation money along with twenty expensive Buddha amulets and a religious knife were stolen from his office.
The investigators began examination at the temple and found some evidence that led to the identification of the suspect.
The official arrest began after receiving a tip-off from a good samaritan stating that they saw a suspiciously wealthy man who spent a large amount of money and bought a gold necklace to tip some bar girls while he was hanging out around Walking Street in Pattaya and who hinted he had been involved in the temple situation.
The police started tracking down the location of the supposed rich man as he was believed to be the prime suspect in the case. The alleged thief was eventually caught as he was taking a rest at a Pattaya area department store.
During the initial interrogation, Somchai allegedly admitted to the theft but he claimed he did not remember where he kept the rest of the stolen money and religious amulets.
Lieutenant Colonel Apichanan Wattanawarangkul, Director of Huay Yai Police Station, told the reporters that Somchai Laikhao also had a history with this type of crime with multiple offenses.
The director told the Associated Press: “He was put behind bars for stealing many times before. We will keep him at the police station and keep footage of CCTV from the bar he went to as evidence to charge him for stealing.”
Initially, Somchai was charged for stealing and is currently detained at the police station for legal proceedings.