A 17-year-old student was nabbed after escaping from a jewellery store with gold chains worth 400,000 baht ($16,310) from a shop in Nonthaburi province, northwest of Bangkok.
She might have succeeded in her robbery attempt, if not for the actions of a quick-thinking passer-by.
The girl, who has not been named, was reported to have entered a Big C shopping mall last Sunday (Sept 12). Dressed in a yellow top, cap, gloves and a face mask, she headed towards the Yaowarat Krungthep goldsmith shop.
There, she pulled out a kitchen knife and handed a note along with a black bag to the manager of the shop who was at the counter.
According to the Bangkok Post, the note read, “Put money and gold in a bag. Don’t shout. Your life is yours. There’s no need to kill.”
The manager of the shop, Kulpanisa Dabut, 21, did as she was told, placing the necklaces and gold rings that were on display into the bag, after which the girl grabbed the bag and ran out of the shop.
Her robbery attempt was foiled, however, by a shopper nearby who heard Dabut’s cries for help.
Based on CCTV footage that was released, the man, who was sitting on a bench in the mall, saw the girl running towards him and extended his leg, causing her to trip and fall.
Sprawled on the floor with the knife knocked out of her hand, the girl was then held down by other staff at the mall and subsequently apprehended by the police.
According to reports, the teenager told police that she had resorted to crime after losing 50,000 baht (about S$2,000) in an online investment scam.
Lured by the alleged hefty returns, the girl had used the insurance payout from her father’s death to invest in the scheme which was advertised on Instagram. She later realised she had been duped when she could not contact the website.
The teenager became desperate after her mother, who was being treated for Covid-19 in another province, asked her about the money.
On the day of the robbery, she had lied to her grandmother with whom she was staying with that she was going to the dentist.
According to Bangkok Post, the girl has been temporarily released by The Central Juvenile and Family Court, after the director of her school posted a 15,000 baht bond for her release.
The police have stated that they are investigating the case and are looking to take legal action against the scammers.