British couple arrested after ‘stealing smartwatch’ from gadget store in Phuket

A British couple have been arrested in Thaland after allegedly stealing a smartwatch from a gadget store.

Andrew Ash, 59, and his partner Shelley Mary-Rose Glass, 63, had been on holiday in Phuket, southern Thailand, when they visited the shop on Tuesdsy (17/12) evening.

CCTV shows Andrew lifting the 12,900BHT (325GBP) watch from a display shelf before the woman drops it into her black handbag.

Staff noticed the missing item and chased after the couple before the police arrived and hauled them into the back of a pickup truck to be driven to the station.

Ash, from Winchester, and Glass, born in Brisbane but living with her partner in the UK, allegedly confessed when they were shown CCTV of the theft. They told police they were married but their passports have different surnames.

Police said the Brits were fined 650GBP – double the cost of the original smartphone – to settle the matter with the shop owner and avoid a court hearing.

Police Major General Rungroj Thakulpoonayasiri said that officers planned to charged the pair with theft but the shop owner agreed not to press charges, in return for compensation.

The police chief said: “There was clear evidence that showed the couple stealing from the shop. They confessed to stealing the watch, however, it was up to the shop owner what happened next.

”The owner agreed not to have them charged and instead settled for compensation to close the case. So this case will not progress to court.”

Shopkeeper Chatchadaporn Phetchai said the couple picked up the shop’s Bluetooth key, which had been laying around, to remove the security tag which keeps the valuable gadgets locked to the shelf. He then handed it to his partner who walked away.

She said the husband ”’acted like nothing happened” then asked for advice from the staff before followed his wife out of the store without any suspicious movements.

Chatchadaporn said she quickly noticed the Bluethooth key was missing and suspected a watch had also gone, before checking CCTV and seeing the couple appearing to steal it.

Securty guards found the pair on the second floor of the shopping mall and demanded they return the items – but they refused and police were called.

Chatchadaporn said: “At first, they acted normal like nothing happened, I asked them to give things back and the woman rejected it all. She did not want to give anything back.”

Chatchadaporn told her that they will also be charged with the price of the missing Bluetooth key before the husband allegedly told her to ”keep quiet and don’t say a word”.

The shopkeeper added: “The thieves did not want anyone touching them or their bags. They kept walking fast like they wanted to get away while we took them to police.”

The suspects were met by officers outside the mall and they were taken in a truck to the local station to be interviewed.

The shop owner asked the couple to return the item and pay ”a double penalty for the theft” which they allegedly agreed to and handed over 650GBP in British banknotes – but the shopkeeper asked for a bank transfer instead.

She said: “They paid with written banknotes that we would not have been able to exchange to our local currency, because if their condition. We asked them to pay with card and they were okay with the deal, then we took them back to the shop and we collected the fine.”

The shop owner added that she is now trying to details of the case to the UK embassy to prevent them from doing the same again.

  • Add Your Comment