Two Certis Cisco auxiliary police officers entrusted with transporting cash for bank machines helped themselves to the money instead and were jailed on Tuesday for dishonestly misappropriating $146,900.
Palwinder Singh Harjan Singh, 21, and Theywa Subramaniam, 27, pleaded guilty to criminal breach of trust committed at Plaza Singapura, Orchard Road, on Sept 17 last year.
Theywa, who also admitted to money laundering, was jailed for 36 months, while Palwinder's sentence on the single charge was 30 months. Both are Malaysians.
The two ex-constables were attached to the organisation's security transport unit, which is in charge of replenishing money at ATMs in Singapore.
Before starting a shift, a three-man team would draw cartridges loaded with money to be deposited at ATMs from the Cash Processing Centre, as well as empty cartridges for cash deposit machines and buffer cartridges of money in a sealed bag.
On Sept 17, Palwinder, the team leader, and Theywa, a guardsman, were entrusted with two buffer cartridges, each containing $220,000 worth of money.
The driver, Mr Sellappan Palaniappan, 30, was not involved.
When they arrived at Plaza Singapura in the early hours of the morning, the pair loaded two bags containing four empty cartridges and the two buffer cartridges on a trolley.
They went to a toilet in the basement level, where Theywa broke into the buffer cartridges and removed stacks of $100 bills, stuffing them into two envelopes, while Palwinder acted as a lookout.
Theywa then secured the cartridges again, leaving a balance of $293,100.
When they returned to the office at 8am, Theywa transferred the $146,900 into his personal bag and left the headquarters for home.
Certis Cisco officers discovered that the two buffer cartridges were lighter than usual despite the seals on them being intact. Internal investigations commenced and a police report was lodged on Sept 21.
Police arrested the duo on Oct 14, with the help of the Royal Malaysian Police. They recovered $135,000 from Theywa's home in Malaysia.
They could have been jailed for up to 15 years and fined for CBT as a servant.