The robbery sparked outrage among Phuket Town residents as the suspect had stabbed Sombat Chanhong, 63, with a pair of scissors and grabbed her wallet while she was meditating in the temple at about 7am.
Phuket City Police Deputy Chief Lt Col Sathit Noorit together with Chalong Police arrested Khanchana Maneemai, 48, originally from Krabi, along the Rawai beachfront on Saturday afternoon (May 8).
Police also seized a Krabi-registered Honda Wave that Khanchana was riding when he was arrested and used to flee the scene after he stabbed Ms Sombat.
The arrest came after police checked CCTV cameras to track down the suspect, and learned that he was homeless and often slept on Rawai Beach.
Khanchana confessed to robbing and stabbing Ms Sombat last Thursday. He also confessed to stealing a shirt and six duvets from a laundry shop in Wichit a few days earlier, said police.
Khanchana told police that he used to live in Krabi, but came to Phuket on his motorbike after an argument with his father.
He did not have permanent accommodation in Phuket, and slept on beaches and at roadside pavilions, he said.
Khanchana confessed to committing 10 thefts in Wichit, Rawai and Phuket Town.
He sold the stolen items and spent the money on buying HIV medication. The medicine cost B70 a time, Khanchana told police.
Police noted that Khanchana had been arrested by Patong Police for the charge of theft in 2017.
Lt Col Sathit confirmed that Khanchana was taken to Phuket City Police station and charged with committing robbery by using a vehicle to flee.
Additional reporting by Eakkapop Thongtub