Patong police yesterday (December 26) apprehended the two Iranian “tourists”, identified as Mr Ghorbaniaf Sharr Shahram, 48, and Mr Emery Sfaharin, 42.
After an interrogation and successfully garnering a confession from the suspects yesterday evening at Kathu Police Station, authorities formally charged the men for using a vehicle to commit robbery and forced entry or vandalism, and are considering at least one more charge.
Police had been tracking the suspects down since Christmas Eve (December 24) after officers were alerted by victims at several guesthouses and hotels in the area that someone had broken into their safes/lockers and stolen guests'deposits.
Investigators were able to gather CCTV images of the two men, moving around on a motorbike, using screwdrivers and other prying devices to break open safes and lockers at several guesthouses, before running off with guests’ cash stored inside.
However, the CCTV footage was unable to show clear shots of the culprits faces, since both wore helmets while commiting the deeds, police said.
Luckily, one eyewitness said he remembered their license plate to be “169”. Police then 'diligently searched for vehicles believed to have been used in the crimes – a Yamaha Nuvo scooter – with said plate numbers.
Police searched Patong tirelessly on Christmas Eve and Chirstmas day for “69” but to no avail. Finally, on Boxing day, they found a Yamaha Nuvo with the plate numbers “163” parked at the Ban Ton Sai Bungalo and staked it out.
Police spotted the two suspects leave the guesthouse on the scooter at one point, and proceeded to follow them to a currency exchange booth where the men exchanged some money before returning to the guest house.
Police were convinced that they had their culprits after comparing their observations to the men in the CCTV, and proceeded to move in for the grab in room number 119.
Inside the room, police found screwdrivers, a helmet, prying devices, and money in multiple currencies “valued million”.
Police seized the booty and detained the suspects for further questioning at Kathu Police Station.
Several victims came to the police station to finger the suspects, Thai style.
Police said the suspects are believed to have broken into some 20 lockers or safes over the last several days.
Furthermore, police are looking into whether the suspects had spiked “power drinks” that they allegedly offered to hotel attendants before committing their acts.