SINGAPORE — While on the way home on his motorcycle, a man spotted an elderly man at a coffeeshop wearing a gold chain and decided to steal it.
Ruben Supramaniam, 28, returned to his residence to pick up two black shirts to mask his identity before returning to the coffeeshop and snatching the necklace from the 72-year-old coffeeshop assistant, who was in the midst of making coffee for a customer.
The Malaysian pleaded guilty on Tuesday (14 September) to one count of using criminal force committing theft at the Upper Aljunied Lane Kimly Coffeeshop.
Ruben, a work permit holder, worked in a hotel kitchen.
On 30 July, at about 3am, he was riding home on his motorcycle when he passed by the coffeeshop. He saw the victim, who worked the night shift from 10.30pm to 7am, sitting alone at the coffeeshop. From afar, Ruben saw that the victim was wearing a gold necklace and decided to steal it.
He went to his flat, which was near the coffeeshop, and picked up two black shirts. He hid them under his shirt while taking the elevator in order to hide them from police cameras in the lifts.
He then walked over to the coffeeshop while wrapping one of the black shirts around his head to hide his face. He pulled the other black shirt over his torso, intending to discard it after the act.
Ruben reached the coffeeshop at about 3.40am and saw the elderly man making coffee at the drinks stall. Ruben then snuck into the stall behind the victim and grabbed at his gold necklace. He pulled hard, causing the necklace chain to break off, and fled.
The thief then ran towards the back of a nearby neighbourhood police centre before taking off the two black shirts and throwing them away. The victim called the police.
The next day, Ruben handed the necklace to a friend, Vickneswaran Sarevanan, to sell at a pawnshop. The necklace was sold at a pawnshop at Marsiling MRT for $1,000, but was later recovered.
The prosecution sought the minimum one-year jail term for Ruben, noting that he had readily confessed to his crime, cooperated with the authorities, and pleaded guilty at the earliest instance.
Apart from providing substantial details about his crime, Ruben also led police officers to where he had discarded the shirts.
However, Deputy Public Prosecutor Bryan Joel Lim stated that Ruben planned the offence with the intention of evading apprehension, and that the victim had been working in the coffeeshop and was vulnerable due to his age.
Ruben could have been jailed between one and seven years and caned for his offence of snatch-theft.
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