Court sentences former cricket coaches for burglary and theft

Two assistant sports teachers broke into the homes of three students undergoing cricket training at St Andrew's Secondary School and stole more than $65,000 in cash, jewellery and valuables. While Vigineswari Pasupathy, 24, was placed on probation for two years on Wednesday, her elder sister Rajeswari 26, was jailed for 15 months.

District Judge Mathew Joseph noted that the older woman had played "a leading and masterly role" and had "manipulated" her sister into committing the crimes. Rajeswari had also re-offended while serving 11/2 years of probation for a 2011 conviction for theft, the judge added.

Both women had pleaded guilty on Oct 2 to committing housebreaking and theft. Then, the court heard that Rajeswari had hatched the plan of taking the housekeys of students attending the cricket sessions so as to burgle their homes but only if the other family members were overseas. She roped in her sister and the school's full-time cricket coach Jeraj Puvaneshen. His role was to keep the victims occupied.

The sisters committed the first burglary in December 2009 and the second in September the following year. After the third burglary in May 2012, the sisters took a taxi back to the school and Vigineswari put the house keys back into the victim's bag and continued with the cricket training.

The sisters sold the stolen jewellery to a second-hand dealer in Serangoon North. On May 31, Puvaneshen was arrested with stolen camera gear from the break-in that he intended to sell. Police then pursued the sisters.

Puvaneshen was jailed for 15 months in May.