Man charged over armed robbery at petrol station, Singapore’s first such crime in 10 years

The Shell petrol station in Upper Bukit Timah Road where the robbery took place on Monday.
The Shell petrol station in Upper Bukit Timah Road where the robbery took place on Monday. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

He allegedly committed Singapore's first armed robbery at a petrol station in 10 years.

Yesterday, cleaning company worker Visvanathan Vadivelu, 48, was charged in court with arming himself with a kitchen knife to rob a Shell outlet in Upper Bukit Timah Road on Monday.

The Singaporean allegedly made off with $1,193 in cash.

According to news reports, a knife-wielding man went to the petrol station and threatened a 22-year-old staff member manning the register, ordering her to place money into a plastic bag.

During a press conference about the case on Tuesday, Senior Assistant Commissioner (SAC) Gerald Lim, who is commander of the Clementi Police Division, said the suspect wore a helmet, a pair of sunglasses and gloves when he committed the crime.

He made off with the cash and fled the scene on a motorcycle that had a masked licence plate.

 

The supervisor at the petrol station made a police report, and a 63-year-old customer who had noticed the suspect's behaviour tailed him to the nearby Hillview area, said SAC Lim.

Police said they were alerted to the case at around 12.50pm the same day.

Based on information provided by witnesses, the police established the suspect's identity.

Officers arrested Visvanathan about four hours later in Jurong East Street 21. They also seized as evidence bank receipts, $499 in cash and a motorcycle.

Visvanathan, who was unrepresented, will be remanded at the Central Police Division. He will be back in court on Aug 8.

His case was the first of two armed robbery cases this week.

On Tuesday, another knife-wielding robber entered a Western Union branch at Block 301, Ubi Avenue 1, and forced an employee of the money-transfer firm to hand over more than $2,000.

No one was injured, and the police were alerted at about 10.50am that day.

The suspect, who fled on foot, was last seen wearing a white helmet, black jacket and dark- coloured trousers. Police investigations are ongoing. Anyone with information can contact the police on 1800-255-0000, or online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness

There were 93 cases of robbery last year, down from 230 in 2014.

The number of armed robberies reported dipped from 50 in 2014 to 15 last year.

Offenders convicted of armed robbery can be jailed for up to 10 years and given at least 12 strokes of the cane.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2017, with the headline 'Man charged over armed robbery at petrol station'. Print Edition | Subscribe