An unemployed man who was on his way to a job interview decided to snatch a retiree's gold necklace instead, a court heard.
Muhammad Azmi Mustapa Kammal pulled the jewellery from a retiree's neck when she put down her shopping after visiting a market on May 10.
He then took a cab to a pawn shop and received $790 for it.
Azmi, 28, was jailed for 13 months yesterday after he pleaded guilty to one charge of theft. He admitted to another count of theft, which was taken into account in sentencing.
A community court heard that Azmi used the cash he received to redeem his mother's gold ring, which he had earlier pawned with her permission, and returned it to her.
He also gave her and his brother each $50 in cash and kept the remaining $280.
His victim - 69-year-old retiree Choo Chew - made a police report about the theft of her necklace, which she had bought for $200 about 40 years ago.
Azmi was arrested by police at about 6.45pm that day - less than three hours after the victim had gone to report the theft, which took place at about 10.30am.
Earlier, on Feb 1, at about 1.45pm, Azmi had also stolen from another person at the void deck of Block 714 Tampines Street 71.
He had snatched a Samsung Note 3 mobile phone worth about $500, an ez-link card with about $15 of stored value and $10 in cash from a 52-year-old woman who was carrying the items in her hand.
The punishment for using criminal force on a person, while stealing something that the person is wearing or carrying, is between one and seven years' jail. The offender is also liable to caning.