Residents in Bukit Timah can breathe easier, after police on Friday arrested two suspects believed to be responsible for a spate of break-ins at private residential estates island-wide.
The Straits Times understands that the two Chinese nationals - aged 31 and 32 - may also be linked to the three cases reported in the Bukit Timah area, between July 25 and Oct 8.
The two men are said to have stolen cash, jewellery and other valuables from homes including Faber Drive in Clementi, Kew Crescent in Bedok, and the Binchang area in Bishan over the past two weeks. The spokesman added that the suspects gained entry into the homes by scaling over units' boundary walls, climbing in through unlocked kitchen or toilet windows, or by forcing open sliding doors.
They were nabbed separately during a sting operation at about 3.30am on Friday in Geylang and Bukit Timah. Four mobile phones, five iPads, seven laptops, three cameras, two watches, cash amounting to over $4,500, and an assortment of foreign currencies and tools were seized from their possession.
Two weeks ago, The Sunday Times reported on crime alert signs put up in Bukit Timah by the police to warn residents of the break-ins in the neighbourhood.
At that time, a total of six similar signs were found spread across prime area estates, from Binjai Park to Watten Estate.
Five, located in Jalan Kampong Chantek, Sixth Avenue, Eng Neo Avenue, Greenwood Crescent and Shelford Road, pointed to a break-in on Aug 31, between 4am and 7am. The sixth sign at Turf Club Road referred to a case on July 25 at 8.30pm. During those two break-ins, a handbag, a wallet and cash were stolen.
Residents said then that they were concerned by the signs, and wondered if their neighbourhood was being targeted by a syndicate.
Earlier this week, The Sunday Times revisited the area and found that all the six signs had been removed.
However, there were at least three new signs, which pointed to an Oct 8 break-in. These were at Sixth Avenue, Vanda Road, and Coronation Road West. Information on these signs suggested that the suspect or suspects gained entry by forcing open the sliding door at the side of the unit.
The police spokesman said that the Oct 8 incident took place at a house along Jalan Lim Tai See and mobile phones were stolen.
Investigations are still ongoing and it remains unclear which of these involved the two suspects arrested during Friday's bust. The police, however, have stepped up patrols in the area as a result of these incidents.
Residents at Jalan Lim Tai See said they were aware of and concerned about the break-in in their neighbourhood. Some said they now ensure that all their doors and windows are locked before going to bed, as they were not so thorough previously. Said resident Madam S. Lim, 71: "I'm going to get an additional lock for my gate."
Separately, a 24-year-old man believed to be involved in at least eight break-ins at a condominium located along Cavenagh Road was arrested on Thursday, the police said. These cases were reported since May this year, and the latest occurred earlier this month.