A young gambler took part in football betting and in just three days, lost $50,000 to the man whom he had placed his bets with.
Unable to pay the amount, Toh Xin Ann decided to steal gold jewellery totalling nearly $36,000 from a store in Yew Tee Square shopping centre, and handed the valuables over to the man known only as Jason.
Toh, 23, who is jobless, was sentenced yesterday to five months' jail after pleading guilty to a theft charge.
He started gambling when he was about 19 years old and later became hooked on football betting.
In March last year, he met Jason in a club and placed bets with him. Court documents did not reveal any details about the club.
During the World Cup season in June and July, he placed several bets with Jason and soon lost $50,000.
The court heard that Toh was supposed to pay up when the matches ended but he left the club and did not return after telling Jason that he would settle the debt.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Rebecca Wong said the two men bumped into each other by chance on Dec 12 last year, and Jason asked Toh for the money.
He also told Toh that he would "come and find" him if the debt was not repaid within three days.
Toh then hatched a plan to steal gold jewellery to settle the debt.
He went to Gold Scale Jewels at Yew Tee Square in Choa Chu Kang Street 62 at around 1.30pm on Dec 15 and asked to look at some gold chains which were worth more than $30,000.
DPP Wong told District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt: "The accused put on the gold chains on the pretext that he was considering purchasing them."
When Toh could not find an opportunity to run away with the gold chains, he returned them to a shop assistant. He came back two more times soon after, but failed in both attempts.
The DPP said: "At about 4pm, the accused entered the store a fourth time, determined to steal the gold chains. This time, he also asked to try on a gold pendant."
Toh told the shop assistant that he would wait for his girlfriend to come and give her opinion about the valuables. He walked in and out of the shop, pretending to talk to his girlfriend on his mobile phone.
The jewellery store workers were busy serving other customers when he suddenly sprinted out of the shop with the pendant and three chains. He later met Jason and handed them over to him.
The police were alerted and officers arrested Toh on Dec 17.
Court documents did not reveal where the gold chains and pendant are now. For stealing the valuables, he could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined.