Employee gets 26 months for break-in and theft of $11,824

SINGAPORE - A disgruntled store assistant who broke into his employer's office and stole cash of about $11,800 was jailed for 26 months on Tuesday.

Mohammad Taufik Mustafa, 44, pleaded guilty to housebreaking and theft by night at Premier Carpet at Jalan Pemimpin off Marymount Road on May 17 last year.

A district court heard that sometime from March to May last year, Taufik was unhappy with the company because he felt that it was underpaying him.

Sometime in May the same year, he thought of "doing something" to the company.

On May 17, he met a colleague, who had introduced him to the job, and told him about his unhappiness towards the company, and his intention to "do something" to it.

He took a cab to the company at Tai Lee Industrial Building that evening via the carpark exit, and walked to the rear staircase area to avoid detection by security officers.

He wore a pair of gloves and used a screwdriver to force open the company's wooden main door. He eventually kicked it open and got in.

He went to the administrative assistant's desk and removed $3,427 and RMB1,500 from the cashbox after prying open the table drawer.

Using a key, he opened the director's office door and stole $1,800, RM3,000, and RMB4,000 from the cabinet drawer. He went to another office and took $4,000, a few cheque books and internet banking tokens and placed them into a plastic bag.

After leaving the office, he left the building by the same route and took a taxi to Tekka market.

Of the estimated $11,824 stolen, he kept $3,200 and RM1,000 for himself.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Shen Wanqin cited aggravating factors such as premeditation and abuse of his position of trust to urge the court to impose more than the mandatory minimum of two years' jail.

District Judge Toh Yung Cheong backdated Taufik's sentence to May 20 last year.

Taufik, who has previous convictions for theft and forgery, could have been jailed for up to 14 years for housebreaking and theft by night.