Ex-waiter stole tins of milk powder to pay off debts

In an attempt to repay his gambling debts, a former waiter stole 22 tins of milk powder worth more than $1,500 and sold the loot online for a quick buck.

Andika, who goes by only one name, was sentenced to a week's jail yesterday. He pleaded guilty last month to two counts of theft involving 14 tins of milk powder valued at $942.80. Two other charges involving the remaining eight tins worth $618.25 were taken into consideration during sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jaime Pang said the 24-year-old Indonesian, now a part-time telemarketer, would offer cheap milk powder on the online marketplace Carousell.

DPP Pang said: "A buyer would request for a specific brand and quantity of milk powder. (Andika) would agree to a price, then go to steal the required milk powder from a supermarket. He made a total of three sales, receiving $860 in cash."

The court heard that, to avoid detection, Andika wore a surgical mask and brought along a trolley bag to conceal his loot. He also deleted the posts and messages related to the sales immediately afterwards.

Andika started his crime spree on Oct 30 last year when he stole four tins worth $204 from a supermarket in Lorong 7 Toa Payoh.

The next day, he went to two other supermarkets to steal 12 more tins valued at $891.45.

On Nov 1 last year, he went to a fourth supermarket, in Bishan Street 13. A security officer spotted Andika behaving suspiciously in the milk powder section and decided to keep a close eye on him.

The officer saw him taking and then putting two tins of milk powder into the trolley bag. Andika later bought some groceries before trying to slip away without paying for the milk powder.

The security officer stopped him outside the supermarket and he was found with six unpaid tins of milk powder worth $465.60 in all.

The police were alerted and Andika was arrested at the scene.

Andika, who is now out on bail, will surrender at the State Courts on Jan 10 to begin his sentence.

He could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined for each count of theft.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2018, with the headline 'Ex-waiter stole tins of milk powder to pay off debts'. Print Edition | Subscribe