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Hotel Chambermaid Arrested in Pattaya For Robbing American Tourist

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PATTAYA – Police in the resort town of Pattaya have arrested a hotel chambermaid on charges of stealing valuables worth nearly 500,000 baht ($US15,500) from the room of an American tourist.

Police said Pimsiri Boonchu, 26, of Nakhon Sawan, confessed to the charges and was taken for a crime re-enactment at the Vogue Hotel in Pattaya Klang on Saturday.

Seized from her were a silver necklace, a copper alloy necklace and a Honda Civic car with Bangkok licence plates. The car was paid for with stolen money and proceeds from the sale of stolen items, said Pattaya police.

The investigation began after American visitor Tracy Nguyen, 48, filed a complaint with Pattaya police that her passport, bank cards and valuable items had disappeared from her room on Aug 4.

Mrs Nguyen told police earlier that she was not in the room when the theft occurred. Before going out that day, she said she had put a sign on her door saying she did not need the room cleaned.

After returning to the room, she found that US$3,500 in cash, some Vietnamese currency, her passport, driving licence, ATM card and other items were missing. They included a gold bracelet worth $2,000, a platinum bracelet worth $700, a pair of diamond earrings worth $6,000, a platinum necklace with a diamond ornament worth $1,500, a copper alloy necklace worth $300 and a Feragammo purse. The stolen items were worth about 464,000 baht in total.

Police examined closed-circuit television images that focused suspicion on a hotel maid. After gathering more evidence they sought an arrest warrant and picked up the suspect at a rented room in Nong Prue district on Saturday.

Police said Ms Pimsiri told them the theft was the first she had ever committed. She later quit her job and sold the stolen items to purchase the car that was seized.

Ms Nguyen has since returned home but police have contacted her and she plans to come back to Thailand, said Pol Col Apichai Krobphet, the Pattaya police chief.

He said the incident had tarnished the reputation of Pattaya tourism. Police would ask hotels to be more thorough in screening employees, he added.

By Chaiyot Pupattanapong and Trinai Canshrichol