Man charged over armed robbery at foodcourt, investigations reveal possible inside job

SINGAPORE - Police were alerted to a case of armed robbery at a foodcourt last weekend, only to uncover later that it could have been an inside job, with a worker at the eatery being the mastermind of the heist.

A 47-year-old man, Tan Lye Meng, whom the worker had allegedly roped in, was charged in court on Friday (March 8) with armed robbery.

He was accused of arming himself with a knife to rob the Kopitiam management office at Block 11 Rivervale Crescent in Sengkang at around 11.45am on Sunday.

Court documents said Tan allegedly made off with about $6,000.

Police said in a statement that officers were alerted about the case at 11.50am that day.

They added: "A 49-year-old staff member of the foodcourt reported that an unknown man, who was armed with a knife, had entered the office and demanded money. The robber reportedly made off with $20,000 belonging to the management of the foodcourt."

Through follow-up investigations, several inconsistencies were detected in the staff member's account of the incident, and officers managed to establish Tan's identity before arresting him on Thursday.

Police said that officers had also arrested the foodcourt worker and a 51-year-old acquaintance who had recommended Tan.

The statement did not reveal their identities and investigations are ongoing.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, Kopitiam said: "We are currently assisting SPF (Singapore Police Force) on the case and a staff member has been suspended from duty pending police investigation."

Tan had earlier been charged with drug-related offences before he was taken to court on Friday.

Court documents stated that on April 10 last year, he allegedly consumed methamphetamine and was said to be in possession of drug paraphernalia in a Jurong East flat.

About six months later, he allegedly had in his possession items including three tablets which contained substances such as MMB-FUBINACA. This is found in synthetic cannabis products.

Tan is now remanded at Woodlands Police Division and will be back in court on March 15.

Offenders convicted of armed robbery can be jailed for between two and 10 years. They will also receive at least six strokes of the cane.