Sales assistant handed over shop key to assist break-in and theft; jailed 27 months

SINGAPORE - Lured by the promise of $5,000 in return for helping his friend break into the mobile phone shop he worked at, sales assistant Tan Chun Wen handed over the key to the shop's front shutters.

The permanent resident even went with his friend to buy a disguise to avoid detection, and waited at home for his friend to return with the loot.

On Wednesday, Tan, 25, was jailed 27 months for helping Lim Chain Chuen to steal $10,600 in cash and four iPhones worth about $4,000 from firm Mobi Mobile. Lim, 25, who was convicted earlier this month of house-breaking and theft by night, got the same punishment.

The court heard Lim had confided in Tan that he faced financial difficulties due to gambling, and wanted to break into the shop along New Upper Changi Road. Tan told his friend that the store's cash register contained about $10,000, and accepted an offer of $5,000 to help.

On Dec 28, Lim collected the key from Tan and duplicated it. The duo visited a shop in Beach Road, where Lim bought a cap, sunglasses and gloves which he wore the following night while stealing the items.

Handing down the punishment, the court agreed with the prosecution that Tan had played a significant role in the operation, and took into consideration the fact that Tan had past convictions for property-related offences.

Tan has made restitution of $4,000. He could have been jailed between two and 14 years.