2 years' jail, 6 strokes for man who acted as lookout during armed robbery of Jurong moneylender

The man had discussed with two others and agreed to commit a robbery at OT Credit in Jurong Gateway Road in November 2020. ST PHOTO: JEAN IAU

SINGAPORE - He was tasked with scouting a licensed moneylender shop to see if the coast was clear before an accomplice joined him in an armed robbery.

But Tusheintar Segaran, a Malaysian, did not follow through with the plan despite entering the shop on Nov 19, 2020. Instead, he became a lookout during the armed robbery later that day.

For his role in the $48,000 heist, the Singapore permanent resident, now 22, was sentenced to two years' jail and six strokes of the cane after pleading guilty to a robbery charge on Thursday (Feb 3).

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jonathan Lee said in court documents that Tusheintar, Karrtik Stalniraj and Kotta Kumar Jeswanth had discussed and agreed to commit a robbery at OT Credit in Jurong Gateway Road.

Karrtik had suggested targeting the shop as it was staffed by only two female assistants.

On the day of the robbery, Tusheintar and Karrtik stole motorcycle helmets from a carpark in Jurong West to use during the heist.

They arrived at the vicinity of the shop at noon to observe the surroundings to determine an opportune moment to carry out the robbery.

The initial plan was for Tusheintar to enter the shop wearing a motorcycle helmet and pretend to inquire about getting a loan using a birth certificate. He would then signal Jeswanth when the coast was clear.

Jeswanth would then enter the shop and commit the robbery with Tusheintar.

After entering the shop, Tusheintar did not follow through with the plan and left. Court papers did not reveal the reason for his change of mind.

The trio continued to observe the shop until about 4pm when Karrtik decided he did not want to wait any longer. They then agreed to enter the shop together to commit the robbery.

Only one shop assistant - a 36-year-old woman - was there at the time. Jeswanth rushed towards her and pulled her hair with one hand while holding a karambit knife in the other.

The karambit knife used by Kotta Kumar Jeswanth. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

DPP Lee said: "Jeswanth pointed the knife at the victim, told the victim not to shout and demanded that she throw cash into a grey haversack which he was carrying in front of his body. The victim was afraid for her safety and complied out of fear."

Jeswanth held on to the victim's ponytail while she was placing money into the haversack. Karrtik searched the shop for more money while Tusheintar acted as a lookout at the entrance.

After the assistant had placed the cash into the haversack, Jeswanth, still grabbing her ponytail, took her to the back of the shop and locked her in the office.

A few minutes after the three men fled, the assistant was rescued by a woman from a neighbouring shop.

The robbers met another man at a cemetery in Lim Chu Kang who was given the karambit knives and empty grey haversack to dispose.

They then split the criminal proceeds, with Tusheintar receiving $14,000 for his part in the heist.

He was arrested by the police in Jalan Kemuning Park in Sembawang at about 4am the next day.

Jeswanth was convicted for his role in the robbery on Jan 20, 2021, and ordered to undergo reformative training, which involves detention in a centre with a strict regimen, including foot drills and counselling.

Karrtik's case is at the pre-trial conference stage.

For armed robbery, an offender can be jailed for between five and 20 years and receive at least 12 strokes of the cane.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.