Gem theft suspect held third time

A veteran gem thief was arrested on Tuesday for the third time while allegedly practising her specialty - switching fake diamonds for real gems at jewellery shops.

Police said Jinda Chanmon, 38, was trying to steal jewellery in Roi Et province, and said they seized more than seven million baht worth of suspected stolen jewellery when they arrested her.

Items recovered included four gold rings with embedded diamonds, a pair of diamond earringsm and three tickets for goods held at a pawn shop, Metropolitan Police Bureau chief Kamronwit Thoopkrachang told a press conference.

The native of Nakhon Ratchasima allegedly confessed to police she had committed the same crime nine times since 2004.

She said she could not earn enough money from selling clothes at the Chatuchak Weekend Market, and so reverted to gem theft.

She allegedly admitted being active as a gem thief in Bangkok and Chanthaburi provinces between March and April this year, according to police.  

Ms Jinda was arrested for the first time in 2004 and served a prison sentence. She was released in 2009 and immediately repeated her crime. 

According to police, Ms Jinda used a fake identity card to open a bank account. She would then show it to staff at a jewellery store and ask for the shop's bank account information, saying she would transfer the money for purchased jewellery from her account.

She would then switch the real gems for fake diamonds while viewing them, while the sales staff were distracted.

Police apprehended her again on April 8 after she and her boyfriend had visited a jewellery store in Chanthaburi province and made off with a 4.07 carat diamond which was later sold to a pawn shop for 1.2 million baht.

The pair were later released on bail.

While their case was still pending in court, Ms Jinda managed to steal a 3-carat diamond and two diamond rings from a store at Central Bang Na shopping complex last Thursday accoding to police.

She pawned the stolen items for 1.1 million baht at a shop in Nonthaburi, and was subsequently arrested for the third time, police said.   

Related search: thailand, crime, diamonds, gem thief, Jinda Chanmon

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