Cleaner jailed two years for stealing $400k diamond while out on bail

A part-time cleaner stole a $400,000 diamond from her employer, hours before she was due in court to be sentenced for other theft offences.

Anastasia Yeni Pawestri, 45, was cleaning a Cairnhill Rise apartment while out on bail on Nov 8 last year when she chanced upon the diamond in a silver box, along with a $3,000 diamond pendant attached to a gold chain.

The flat's owner, Ms Chen Shi, 28, reported the items missing that evening, by which time Pawestri had been jailed for seven months for stealing $11,000 in cash from another employer in April last year.

Yesterday, Pawestri was jailed for two years for the latest offence.

Ms Chen's jewellery has been returned.

In passing sentence, District Judge John Ng told Pawestri: "I have to sentence you as a repeat offender.

"It is very good that the items were recovered. We have to give due regard to the recovery because if the items were not discovered, the loss incurred would have been quite astronomical and I would have to sentence you to twice or more than twice of what I am giving you now."

In mitigation, Pawestri's lawyer said his client did not know the high value of the items she stole when she committed the offence, and pointed to her poor financial background in asking for compassion from the court.

Judge Ng said that poor financial background cannot be considered as a mitigating factor in such theft cases.

For stealing from an employer, Pawestri could have faced up to seven years' jail with a fine.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2018, with the headline 'Cleaner jailed two years for stealing $400k diamond while out on bail'. Print Edition | Subscribe