Armed with an umbrella, a 54-year-old man allegedly tried to fish out a mobile phone through the gate of a Bukit Merah View flat last Friday.
While trying to get hold of the mobile phone, which was on a table, he was discovered by the owner, who confronted him.
The man fled but was arrested on Wednesday for attempted housebreaking by day.
In a statement yesterday, the police said they were alerted to the case at about 8.30am last Friday.
Officers identified the man through ground inquiries and with the help of images from police cameras.
If convicted, he faces a jail term of up to three years and a fine.
The police are reminding home owners not to leave valuables near windows or doors within reach of outsiders.
They should secure all doors, windows and other openings with good-quality grilles and closed-shackle padlocks when leaving the house, the police added.
Home owners should also refrain from keeping large sums of cash at home.
They should install a burglar alarm and closed-circuit television cameras to cover access points of their homes and test them periodically to ensure that they are in good working condition, said the police.