PHUKET: A recent withdrawal from an ATM account belonging to missing American surfer Brett Bean was made by a man of Western appearance, Phuket police said today.
Officers are now closely examining footage taken by a security camera outside the Siam Commercial Bank branch near Chalong Circle in southern Phuket on December 5.
The withdrawal of 1600 baht was made eight days after Mr Bean failed to catch a flight off Phuket to link up with other flights to Hong Kong then to Los Angeles, where his parents expected to meet him.
Police are also looking closely at footage taken inside a 7-Eleven store in Patong on November 27 of a man of Western appearance, wearing a motorcycle helmet inside the store.
The store is in Nanai Road, Patong, near the Patong Market. The man rides away on a motorcycle similar to the one owned by Mr Bean.
Mr Bean's mother Lynne flew to Phuket on Saturday and yesterday posted a reward of 50,000 baht for information that leads to finding her son.
Police met with Mrs Bean this afternoon to see whether she could identify the man pictured at the ATM. The photographs, however, appear to be inconclusive because the man continues to wear the motorcycle helmet.
The number plate of the motorcycle also cannot be seen.
Mr Bean, 43, lived in a small bungalow in the Kata-Karon on Phuket for most of the year and worked as a ski instructor in Colorado to sustain his Phuket surfer's life.
Police found his house looking lived in. He had paid the next six months' rent in advance.
Mr Bean's passport and surfboard were in the house but Mr Bean's laptop, mobile telephone and silver-grey motorcycle had gone.
Neighbors said he was last seen around Patak Road, Soi 10, days before his flight off Phuket on November 27. His parents reported that he had sent them a message saying he was all set for his trip home and was going to lunch with friends.
The sightings of the Western man at the ATM and in the Patong 7-Eleven lends extra credibility to the report by British expat resident Clare Bickerton.
She says she saw Brett, a friend she knew from feeding stray dogs in the area, ride past on a motorcycle in beach road Karon on December 1.
Brett Chapman Bean is 6 feet 2 inches tall, slender, and has blond hair and blue eyes. He sometimes grows a beard and at other times goes clean-shaven.
Mr Bean has a swirly tattoo on his left forearm and a second tattoo of a snake on his right thigh.
Anyone who thinks they might have seen Brett should contact the US Embassy in Bangkok on 02 2054049 or after hours on 02 2054000, or write to Phuketwan via the comments space at the end of this article.