Tourist Phone Snatcher Arrested in Pitsanulok

PITSANULOK — An ex-convict was arrested minutes after he stole a smartphone from a 75-year-old foreign tourist at a prominent temple in Pitsanulok province today.

Sornchai Chaengsakul, 39,  said he tried to steal the phone because he was recently released from prison and did not have any money. 

However, the Dutch tourist, who was visiting Phra Sri Rattanamahatat Temple, promptly blew a whistle and alerted nearby police officers. Several officers gave chase and arrested Sornchai as he was trying to swim across the river. 

Police say Sornchai was previously jailed for drug charges. 

According to Pol.Maj.Gen. Pisit Tanprasert, the tourist said he was carrying a whistle because he heard that tourists in Thailand should be ready to call for help in case they become victims of a crime.

"He didn't expect that he would ever need to use the whistle for real," Pol.Maj.Gen. Pisit said.