An Indian-origin man was on Thursday sentenced to over three years imprisonment and six strokes of cane for masterminding a daylight robbery at a jewellery shop in Singapore.
M Jegatheesh, 28, admitted to robbing gold jewellery worth 119,000 Singapore dollars (USD 88,167) with two other men, choosing to target the shop in Ang Mo Kio Avenue as it looked old and its owners were elderly.
The court heard that Jegatheesh was a Gojek (private taxi) driver at the time of the offence. His co-accused, Veeramani Subran Das, was a Grab (also a private taxi) driver then, while the third accused, 32-year-old Sharavindran, was unemployed. They are also of Indian-origin.
Jegatheesh planned to use his Honda Civic along with a Toyota Vellfire belonging to Veeramani.
On August 13, 2019, the three men met and Jegatheesh told the rest of his plan to rob the shop the next day.
He targeted the place as it looked old and he thought it would not have any alarms installed. He also thought that the elderly owners would not be able to put up resistance.
Veeramani agreed to play the role of the getaway driver and to transport the gold to Sharavindran, who was asked to help sell it.
At about 2.40 PM on August 14, Veeramani drove the Toyota to the car park before Jegatheesh parked his car next to him. Veeramani then took over the wheel of the Honda, while Jegatheesh moved to the back seat and put on clothes including a long-sleeved shirt, a hoodie, gloves and a helmet.
When Jegatheesh entered Hock Cheong Jade & Jewellery shop at 4.07 PM, the co-owners, aged 70 and 75, were there.
Jegatheesh tried to pull down the roller shutter at the entrance, before shouting "Don't move! Don't talk!" and jumping over the jewellery display counter.
The two co-owners pressed the hidden alarm buttons to notify an external security company. They did not confront Jegatheesh as they feared for their safety.
Jegatheesh swept the jewellery, including gold necklaces, bracelets and pendants, into a duffel bag he brought with him.
Jegatheesh had been set for a trial but pleaded guilty on Thursday to one charge of conspiring to commit robbery, with two other charges taken into consideration.
For robbery, Jegatheesh could have been jailed between two and 10 years and given at least six strokes of the cane.
The prosecutor asked for three years and six months' jail and six strokes of the cane as Jegatheesh was the mastermind of the offence.
He said the robbery, which caused "wide public alarm", was committed by a group of people, and was elaborately planned and premeditated.
Jegatheesh, who had no lawyer, said the prosecutor cited past cases that involved violence, threats or weapons, whereas he "did not even threaten anyone".
"I did not even say I want to kill anyone or kill the old man," the Channel quoted him as saying in the court.
He added that the gold was recovered with his help, and said he had decided to plead guilty after "deep consideration" and "deep thinking".
The driver of the getaway car, Veeramani, was sentenced earlier this month to three years' jail and six strokes of the cane for his role. The third accused, Sharavindran, will be sentenced at a later date.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)