SAMUT PRAKAN: Stealing women’s underwear might be considered nothing but a prank in some countries, but it is a serious crime in Samut Prakan’s Muang District, where residents of Tambon Bangpoomai took the law into their own hands and nearly beat to death a man after he was caught pilfering panties. Yoybangpoo District Police reported the man’s arrest, which occurred just before dawn on October 26. Two weeks earlier 28-year-old Somsuay Berdthong (whose name means “appropriately beautiful, open the gold”) reported that one night she had hung out her panties to dry on a clothesline outside her home. The next morning they had gone. Concerned that a panty thief might be on the loose, police launched an investigation and learned that many other women in the same area had also fallen victim. An alert was circulated, warning people to be vigilant. On the morning of October 26, Urai Klaythong, 22, was getting ready for school when she saw a man stealing her underwear from her clothesline. She immediately called the police and also called neighbors for help. When the police arrived, a crowd was administering a serious beating to the thief, who was clutching a pair of Urai’s panties. Police managed to save the man, identified as 34-year-old Sakda Anuphap from Lop Buri Province. He had been living in the same area as his latest victim. Sakda confessed to stealing women’s underwear. He said that the sight of slim, shapely women aroused him sexually, so when he spotted a woman he was attracted to he would follow her to see where she lived, then return later at night to steal her panties. A search of Sakda’s dwelling uncovered about 20 more pairs of panties. He was charged with trespass and theft; it was not reported whether charges were filed against anyone in the crowd that nearly beat him to death.