Maid stole employer's jewellery to pay dad's medical bills

A domestic helper who wanted to foot her father's medical bills in the Philippines stole from her employer's jewellery stash over 10 months, taking items that amounted to $17,000.

Balisi Shirely Martirez, 38, was yesterday sentenced to seven months' jail on three counts of theft. Four other similar offences were taken into consideration.

The court heard that Martirez, a Filipina, had been working for Ms Tan Siew Kim, a lawyer, for four years.

Last December, she decided to steal a diamond pendant with a white chain valued at $3,000 from her employer's master bedroom to pay for her father's medical bills. It is not known what illness her father suffers from.

She again stole from Ms Tan in March this year, sneaking away three gold bracelets worth $6,000. She also stole a chain with a green stone pendant valued at $1,500 and a pair of $2,500 diamond earrings on April 25.

Further investigations showed that Martirez began stealing from Ms Tan last July and continued to do so over 10 months, stealing $17,000 worth of jewellery. She pawned most of these pieces for cash at Maxi Cash shops.

Her offences were discovered only when Ms Tan was browsing through her jewellery collection on May 3 and found that most of the pieces were missing.

Martirez also faced charges for another unrelated theft - of a $300 Seiko watch.

All the items Martirez stole have been recovered.

For stealing from her employer, Martirez could have been jailed up to seven years and fined.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 12, 2018, with the headline 'Maid stole employer's jewellery to pay dad's medical bills'. Print Edition | Subscribe