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Pattaya Daily News

06 May 2014 :: 11:05:14 am 85527

Phuket serial car thief ‘may be member of gang’

More details have emerged about the activities of Sukanya Jantanarak, 40, arrested last night (May 4) for the theft of more than 50 cars from rental companies.
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She was nabbed by police outside a gold shop on Srisoonthorn Rd in Cherng Talay where, she admitted, she was going to pawn some gold to rent yet another car and sell it.Many of her victims, hearing of her arrest, gathered at Cherng Talay Police Station.Pol Lt Col Sommai Onkam, Inspector in charge of investigation at Cherng Talay, said he thinks that Sukanya may be part of a gang that steals cars to order.

He said that Sukanya rented cars in tourism centres around Phuket, focusing especially on Honda CRVs and Toyota Fortuners. Aided by a woman called Suphalak Krootmanee, who is still at large, and who would act as “guarantor”, she would initially rent the car for a day or two then go back and rent it for a longer period, offered between B20,000 and B70,000 a month.After a few weeks she and the car would disappear.

The next thing the owners knew was when they would get a call from Sukanya demanding money from them if they wanted their car back. If they paid, she would give them an address where the car could be found.

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However, when they went to the address they would be told by the person there that he or she had paid good money for the car and if they wanted to get it back they would have to pay more.

If the owner did not pay either Sukanya or the new “owner”, then the car would be sold on, sometimes being smuggled into a neighbouring country.
Col Sommai said that Sukanya was well known to the Cherng Talay Police; she had been arrested many times in the past for gambling – at which she was a “master”.She was also wanted by Cherng Talay Police on five warrants for theft of various kinds, and on multiple warrants issued by other police stations on the island.Sukanya, after her arrest yesterday, admitted to stealing 52 cars but kept quiet about who else was involved.

Col Sommai said he believed she might be part of an organised gang. Sukanya, he pointed out, admitted when she was arrested that she was about to pawn some gold to raise the money to rent another car – a Fortuner that had “already been ordered” by a buyer.

Kwanjai Keawsophat, the owner of rental car in Cherng Talay said she had last encountered Sukanya three years ago. Sukanya rented a car from Mrs Kwanjai several times but after about 10 days Sukanya called to say that if she wanted her car back she would have to pay B500,000. She would then have to go to Krabi to retrieve the vehicle. Mrs Kwanjai informed the police instead. That was the last time she heard from Sukanya.

Ratthana Woranut, owner of a rental car at Surin Beach, said she encountered Sukanya two years ago when Sukanya rented her car and paid on time for two months.Then, however, Sukanya disappeared with the car, leaving Mrs Ratthana “in a terrible situation”.

“I have no income from renting the car, yet I have to continue paying instalments to the bank. If I cannot keep up the payments I could lose may house [which was pledged as a guarantee for the car loan].” She said that now Sukanya had been arrested, she hoped she would get her car back. The chances of that happening, however, seem slim.

In March 2012, investigators had a piece of luck when a car equipped with a GPS device was stolen by Sukanya.

They tracked it to the Nakhon Sri Thammarat home of Thanatat Eakkabutra. There they also found two of four other cars missing from Phuket, along with 14 others from other places.Thanatat told police that the two women had sold him the cars cheap. He was taken in for questioning.

View the original story on The Phuket News

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