SINGAPORE— A 34-year-old man was sentenced to three weeks’ jail on Thursday (23 February) after he stole eight milk powder tins from a supermarket and $213.94 worth of toys from Toys R Us.
Joshua Chen Yixian pleaded guilty to two counts of theft, which alleged that he was in possession of six more tins of milk powder that he could not account for and that were suspected of being stolen. A third charge was taken into the sentencing consideration.
CNA reported that Chen, a Singaporean technician, stole eight 900-gram tins of Enfagrow Pro A+ Stage 3 milk powder worth $422.40 from NTUC FairPrice at Waterway Point on the night of 22 June last year.
He hid behind a pillar and concealed the tins in his blue cooler bag before leaving the supermarket at about 9.15pm. A security guard at the supermarket spotted him stealing the powder, and detained him outside.
After taking him to the security office, the guard recovered the eight tins and found other items bearing Toys R Us labels. Upon arrest, Chen admitted that he intended to sell the milk powder for profit on online marketplace Carousell.
Based on police figures released in January, Chen’s case is one of 80 involving milk powder stolen from supermarkets and grocers last year, with estimated losses of $27,000.
FairPrice has taken action to deter such crimes, by installing screens and locks on shelves displaying infant formula in a trial at at least two of its outlets.
The police reported that most offenders over the last three years were between the ages of 20 and 40; groups of two or more people committed around 35 per cent of these crimes.
Chen had also stolen toys for his children
CNA reported that investigations showed that Chen had also gone to Toys R Us earlier that same night, to steal $213.94 worth of toys for his children, including a $99.99 box of Batman Lego and a Thomas & Friends wooden toy priced at $34.99.
All the stolen items were recovered.
CNA reported that Chen’s lawyer said his client had a “difficult and lonely childhood” that shaped his perception of his duties as a married man, and that Chen took on “burdens and stresses” which led him to “make these mistakes”.
“He’s actually an honest, good and hard-working person,” his lawyer added.
The judge told Chen that he hoped this was his first and last offence, according to CNA.
He asked Chen to learn from this, not commit any other offence in the future, and stay behind after the session to speak to a court counsellor to see if anything could be done to prevent him from reoffending.
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