UDON THANI -- Three men who had broken into more than 100 temples in 12 upper northeastern provinces have been arrested and 14 stolen Buddha images recovered, Khaosod Online reported.
Pol Maj Gen Yanyong Vej-osoth, chief investigator of Provincial Police Region 4, identified the three as Sensan Phothon, 30, Wanit Fondee, 27, and Somros Srihatai, 36.
Their arrests followed a police investigation into complaints about temples being burgled and valuable Buddha images stolen by a gang using a black Udon Thani-registered Nissan car.
Investigators discovered the vehicle had been leased from a car rental company in Udon Thani by Mr Seksan and the three men had stayed in Nonthali dormitory behind Santapol College on the Udon Thani - Sakon Nakhon road in Muang district.
They were arrested while going in the car to sell stolen Buddha images to amulet shops in Udon Thani town.
Following the arrests, police were able to retrieve 14 valuable Buddha images they had sold to amulet shops.
According to Pol Maj Gen Yanyong, the three suspects admitted they had spent more than 200,000 baht gained from selling the Buddha images on gambling and methamphetamine pills.
They admitted breaking into and stealing from more than 100 temples in the northeastern provinces of Nong Khai, Bung Kan, Loei, Nakhon Phanom, Nong Bua Lamphu, Sakon Nakhon, Khon Kaen, Kalasin, Mukdahan, Maha Sarakham, Roi Et and Udon Thani, according to police.