One of the databases shares criminal records and arrest warrants, and the other is used to browse through fingerprints collected from crime scenes. Police investigators believe that when it comes to theft suppression, suspects can strike again if they remain at large. This means more people will become victims while others could suffer further thefts.
Last week the CSD traced a husband and wife wanted on 14 arrest warrants. Their arrest came as a result of the CSD’s new focus on solving old cases, mostly concerning theft and burglary.
Pattanapong Sripinproh, deputy chief of the CSD’s Sub-Division 2, consulted the databases in the hope it would make their task easier. They consulted the Command Control Operations Centre (CCOC) and the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (Afis), as they are known.
The CCOC is a database containing arrest warrants for all criminal suspects in Thailand; The Afis contains fingerprints collected in past criminal investigations.
“The Afis is a useful system for police investigators particularly as they attempt to trace theft suspects as it is sophisticated enough to recognise even an incomplete fingerprint which is compared with the ones previously stored in the database,” Lt Col Pattanapong said. After investigators have identified a suspect using the two database systems, local police will be notified to seek an arrest warrant.
There are practical reasons why local police have to wait for such information from the CSD. Lt Col Pattanapong said they simply do not have the time to go after theft suspects who normally move from place to place quickly to avoid getting caught.
In the latest arrest, police had tracked them for some time. They obtained information that Arkhom Phuthisarn, 52, and Sommai Phuthisarn, 46, were hiding in a rented apartment in Ban Bon district of Bangkok. Police then organised a swoop operation.
Of the 14 arrest warrants issued for the two, 12 were issued by the Pathum Thani provincial court, one more by the Samut Prakan provincial court and the other by the Chonburi provincial court. Of the warrants, eight were issued for Mr Arkhom and the rest for Ms Sommai.
When police raided their rented apartment last week, they found many stolen wristwatches and more than 200 amulets. Much to their surprise, police discovered the couple had earned enough money to buy several houses and cars.
“Let’s call them professional thieves. They made a lot of money and lived a good life,” Lt Col Pattanapong said.
Arun Wachirasrisukanya, chief of the CSD’s Sub-Division 2, said the suspects confessed to several more crimes that occurred after the 14 warrants were issued. They were once arrested and prosecuted in Samut Prakan and Bangkok, and sent to jail. After they were released from prison in 2010, they went back to stealing, Col Arun said.
The team assigned to the cases involving the suspects found the couple had worked with another suspect who was identified only by his first name, Somneuk, and who had been previously arrested for stealing valuables from rented apartments.
Mr Somnuek drove in his car to the apartments targeted for theft. He said he sold the stolen valuables at a flea market.
“The CSD is speeding up efforts to track down other theft suspects whose information is stored on the databases. If we don’t move fast enough, those suspects will continue to look for more victims,” Col Arun said.
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