Duo arrested for cutting open ATM, stealing B2m

Seized cash, documents and other equipment on show at the news conference where police announced they had captured two ATM robbers. (Photo Jakkrapan Nathanri)

KHON KAEN – A 30-year-old man and his teenage nephew have been arrested at a house in Udon Thani and charged with using a steel-cutting torch to open a bank ATM and steal about 2 million baht.

Ponthawat Khomthong, of Bung Kan’s Seka district, and the 16-year-old, whose name was withheld, were apprehended at their house in Udon Thani’s Muang district, Pol Lt Gen Jatuphon Panraksa, chief of Provincial Police Region 4 told a media briefing in Khon Kaen on Thursday.

The duo were held responsible for the robbery at the Krung Thai Bank ATM in front of Ban Luem School on June 9, which held about 2 million baht.

Arresting police seized 1,123,000 baht in cash, a pickup truck, a 70cm crowbar, a gas cylinder, an acetylene torch, two motorcycles, a contract for purchasing a house worth 500,000 baht, a new television set, washing machine, refrigerator and gold ornaments worth 400,000 baht. (continues below)

Police pose with seized goods at the press conference.(Photo by Jakkrapan Nathanri)

The suspects carried out the robbery by using a around 3am on June 9,  Pol Lt Gen Jatuphon alleged. 

When police examined footage from closed circuit television cameras in area around the school they saw a pickup truck with Udon Thani licence plates. Checks found the vehicle belonged to Mr Ponthawat.  

Investigators were convinced he and his nephew were involved in the robbery. Police then traced him to the house in Muang district where they were arrested. 

According to police, Mr Ponthawat said he had failed to pay several monthly instalments on his pickup. The stress debts that were piling up made him desperate. He persuaded his nephew to help him break into the ATM, which was not far from where he lived. 

He had used the stolen money to buy a house worth 500,000 baht, new motorcycles costing 120,000 baht and smart phones, and for other personal expenses.

Mr Ponthawat said it was the first time he and his nephew had committed a robbery, but police were not convinced. The duo had known to cut off the signal from the ATM at Ban Luem School to the bank before cutting the ATM open, Pol Lt Gen Jatuphon said. 

They were handed over to Udon Thani police for legal action.

A police chart showing the two suspects using a gas torch to cut open an ATM and make off with 2 million baht on June 9. (Photo by Jakkarapan Nathanri)

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