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Police Warn Of Rainy Season Thefts

Vientiane Police Office has warned government departments and private businesses to be more wary of office security during the rainy season after a recent spate of thefts.

Vientiane Police Chief, Lieutenant Colonel Salong Sengathith, said the wet weather sometimes meant security guards spent less time inspecting premises at night, which has led to the theft of valuables from offices becoming a major problem.

“Thieves will take the opportunity when security don’t do their job, and will jump into an office and steal valuables. The problem has been occurring in Vientiane for a few weeks now,” he said.

Lieutenant Colonel Salong said business owners and government officials should remind their security guards to pay more attention to their jobs, and should remind all staff not to leave money or valuable items in the office.

He said the advice also goes for home-owners, as rainy weather often means people could sleep right through the sound of a break-in.

“Park your motorcycles or other vehicles in the house and lock them safely, because when you’re asleep you won’t know if something is being stolen,” he said.

“When leaving the house in the morning, also recheck that every door is locked well because thieves will take the opportunity to break in.”

Lieutenant Colonel Salong said Sisattanak district was a popular target during the wet season for burglars, with many using screwdrivers to pick locks and spending less than two minutes to open a door.

“Luckily, district officials have arrested five suspected thieves last week and are now investigating other targets in various areas in Vientiane,” he said.

According to the Vientiane Police Office, there have been more than 40 vehicle thefts in Vientiane since the start of June.

Most of the incidents came about due to owners not locking their vehicles, or leaving the engine running while buying something from a roadside shop.

“It wouldn’t be such a major problem if people stayed aware of the security of their vehicles at all times. They must take care of their belongings, or they will be stolen,” Lieutenant Colonel Salong said.

The office also reported that bag-snatching from foreigners and Lao people was still an issue in Vientiane.

“Most of the incidents have been opportunistic for the snatchers. The victims have always put their bags and valuables in bicycle and motorcycle baskets, or have worn big necklaces while along the street.”

“When the thieves see you doing this, they will take your things,” Lieutenant Colonel Salong said.

He said most crime in the city was of a similar opportunistic nature and that crime was just part of life, so people needed to take care of themselves to avoid the problem.

“We have arrested a lot of criminals but there are new people to replace them, and most of them are involved with drugs or drug trafficking,” he said.

published with the permission of Vientiane Times