Update: Police on Saturday said all of the four suspects, aged 15 – 17, were arrested and charged with theft.
SAMUT PRAKAN — Police on Friday they are seeking the arrests of four men who allegedly stole a pair of sneakers from an apartment in Samut Prakan province before returning them with an “I love you” sign in front of the security camera.
The four men stole the shoes from a woman’s residence in Bang Phli district on Jan. 10, police said. The woman later filed a police complaint and sent a security camera footage of the theft to the Line chat group for her apartment asking for information.
Of course, nothing gets the word out better than a Line group filled with neighbors.
Around 4am on Jan. 15, the four men returned to the front of the room and returned the stolen shoes, made sarang hae yo signs, waved a mocking goodbye to the CCTV, and fled the scene. The move convinced the victim and the police that the men must have been her neighbors.
“We interviewed more witnesses and have identified who the four men are,” Col. Wirot Tutso of Bang Phli police said by phone Friday. “They’re neighbors.”
Wirot added that police are applying for arrest warrants for the suspects. Charges of theft can be pursued even after the perpetrators return the stolen property.
Residents of the housing project also told reporters they’ve often been targeted with petty theft in the wee hours of the morning.
For the uninitiated, “sarang hae yo” means “I love you” in Korean. The gesture is popularized through the waves of K-pop music and dramas in Thailand.
In 2016, Bangkok’s then-police chief went as far as suggesting that rival gangs of vocational students use such “sarang hae yo” to communicate love instead of brawling with each other. To everyone’s surprise, the campaign failed.