Ubi armed robbery suspect nabbed

Items recovered by the police included the getaway bike, 4D tickets bought by the suspect and his shoes. The suspect at the Western Union branch (right) in Ubi on Tuesday. He was arrested in Pasir Ris after a three-day manhunt.
The suspect (above) at the Western Union branch in Ubi on Tuesday. He was arrested in Pasir Ris after a three-day manhunt.PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
Items recovered by the police included the getaway bike, 4D tickets bought by the suspect and his shoes. The suspect at the Western Union branch (right) in Ubi on Tuesday. He was arrested in Pasir Ris after a three-day manhunt.
The suspect at the Western Union (above) branch in Ubi on Tuesday. He was arrested in Pasir Ris after a three-day manhunt.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Items recovered by the police included the getaway bike, 4D tickets bought by the suspect and his shoes. The suspect at the Western Union branch (right) in Ubi on Tuesday. He was arrested in Pasir Ris after a three-day manhunt.
Items recovered by the police included the getaway bike, 4D tickets bought by the suspect and his shoes.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

56-year-old Singaporean traced with the help of video footage from the public

In-car cameras and good old-fashioned footwork led the police to the 56-year-old suspect in Tuesday's armed robbery at a Western Union branch in Ubi.

The Singaporean man was nabbed at about 10.35pm on Thursday in Pasir Ris Drive 6, after a three-day islandwide manhunt.

He had threatened a Western Union employee with a knife and left the branch with around $4,000 on Tuesday morning.

To establish his identity, the police trawled through more than 1,000 hours of video footage taken from police cameras and closed- circuit television cameras in shophouses and eateries.

The police also appealed to vehicle owners who were travelling on the road at the same time as the suspect to submit in-car camera footage.

Superintendent K. Vasanthan, the head investigator of Bedok Police Division, said that video footage gathered from the public provided crucial leads in tracing the suspect's escape route.

 
 

Mr Vasanthan said: "It is the small things that helped us put the jigsaw pieces together."

The police's Vehicles on Watch initiative was launched in 2015 to tap in-vehicle cameras to deter and solve crimes, and to act as extra "eyes" in the community.

 

More than 130 officers from the Bedok Police Division, Criminal Investigation Department and Police Intelligence Department were involved in the operation.

Officers also knocked on doors across an extensive area in the surrounding estate, the Bedok Police Division commander, Assistant Commissioner Tan Tin Wee, said at a press conference yesterday.

He described the case as "challenging", as the suspect had "taken pains to hide his identity". There was also limited forensic evidence, such as fingerprints.

The man was wearing a white helmet, black jacket, dark-coloured trousers and a green disposable face mask when he entered the Western Union branch. He later fled on a bicycle.

During his escape, he dropped some of the money near the carpark behind the branch. The money was later recovered by Western Union employee Hankum Porntip, 28. The suspect eventually fled with $1,071 in a plastic bag. No one was hurt.

The Straits Times understands that the suspect, who is tall with a slim build, was visibly tired when he was nabbed by a team of around 10 police officers. It is believed that the suspect worked alone.

He was found wearing the same dark-blue trousers. Other items recovered included four 4D tickets, black shoes and a green face mask. He also led the police to a red bicycle in Bedok.

Preliminary investigations show that he spent almost all the money, some on the 4D tickets. The police are still trying to locate the knife and white helmet.

If convicted of armed robbery, he may face a jail term of between two and 10 years, and at least 12 strokes of the cane.

This was the second armed robbery reported this week. On Monday, a 48-year-old man was arrested four hours after robbing a petrol station in Upper Bukit Timah Road with a knife. He made off with over $1,100. Visvanathan Vadivelu was charged on Wednesday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2017, with the headline 'Ubi armed robbery suspect nabbed'. Print Edition | Subscribe