LOPBURI — Police officials on Monday won’t comment on the national police chief’s announcement that one person was questioned in connection with an armed robbery that left three people dead two weeks ago.
As pressure from the public and media is mounting for progress, national police commissioner Chakthip Chaijinda said Sunday that a man who “shared several characteristics” with the masked gunman was detained for inquiries in the border province of Nong Khai.
“Our investigators found the man who shared several characteristics of the robber’s profile, including his bag, so we invited him for questioning and collected his DNA,” Gen. Chakthip said. “It’s not confirmed whether the man is the robber.”
He added, “We just suspected him because he was found at a suspicious location.”
But by Monday, police in Nong Khai distanced themselves from the claim.
Nong Khai police chief Surachai Sangkaphat said it’s not his team who has taken the person into custody, while Suppatee Boonkrong, the province’s investigator, said he doesn’t know which team carried out the operation.
Calls to police spokesman Krissana Pattanacharoen went unanswered as of publication time.
Speaking on Saturday, Chakthip refused to reveal more details about the person of interest, including his name and the exact location where he was found.
Nonetheless, he said police have made considerable progress, having reviewed more than 1,000 security cameras across nine provinces.
Chakthip went as far as pledging to arrest the preparator within the next seven days.
“I want to say to the preparator that the police have given you 10 days to hand yourself in,” Chakthip said. “If you still haven’t repent to your crimes, we’ll come to get you.”
The masked gunman shot seven people during a gold store heist in Lopburi City on Jan. 9, killing three of them before making off with about 500,000 baht worth of gold necklaces. The fatalities include a 3-year-old boy.
The bounty for the suspect soared to 600,000 baht as of Monday with contributions from the police, the gold shop, and members of the public.