Yangyel Lhaden

Thimphu police’s idea of roping in public support in catching a culprit paid off when information shared of the culprit led to his arrest on June 23.

A 36-year-old man from Trongsa broke into The Craft Gallery in Thimphu and made off with items worth Nu 700,000. He was arrested in Jemina, Thimphu.

Police began looking for the suspect from May 29 after the burglary was reported. The suspect had broken into the gallery on May 28 at around 6:30pm. The picture of the suspect caught on closed-circuit television (CCTV) was circulated to the community police centres, Crime Investigation Department officers and cab drivers.

Officer in Command (OC) of Thimphu Police Station, Gembo Penjor said the search went in vain since the picture from the CCTV footage was not clear. The OC said that for timely recovery and arrest of the culprit, police decided to seek help from the general public to locate the person.

On June 22, the picture of the suspect was posted on the Royal Bhutan Police’s (RBP) Facebook page.

On the same day of posting the picture on facebook, an informer reported the police about the suspect . It was found out that the suspect was a repeat offender. He was imprisoned for burglary in 2016 and was released from Genekha open-air prison in April this year.

The OC said that they got the phone number of the suspect’s mother from Chamgang Central jail. “After his mother gave us the suspect’s number, Bhutan Telecom traced the location of the number,” the OC said. The tower location of the suspect was found to be in Jemena at around 10:20pm on June 22.

The OC said that along with his team they went immediately to search for the suspect. The search went on till 1:00 am but it wasn’t successful, he said. On June 23, they continued the search at 6:00 AM from Khasadrapchu to Jemena in a taxi to disguise their identity. The team searched along the road, every house and bar, but in vain. While returning back from Jemena at around 10:00am, they found a suspicious man along the roadside in Jemena. The OC said, “He was wearing a sweater cap and pretending to pee.”

They recognised and arrested him. The suspect confessed to the crime at the scene.

The culprit had kept the stolen items in Paro at his friend’s place. He had even sold one of the Kiras worth Nu 53,000 to a woman in Shaba for Nu 3,000.

The OC said that all the items were recovered on the same day and both the culprit and his friend were arrested.

The OC thanked the public for the support and urged people to support police in the future.