A Certis Cisco aviation security officer stole from passengers whose bags he was supposed to be screening at Changi Airport.
Esyaran Mogan, now 29, grabbed a gold chain and cash from two women's belongings while searching through the bags at departure gates at Terminal 1. He was jailed for eight months yesterday after pleading guilty to two counts of theft.
Esyaran, a Malaysian, was deployed as a manual bag searcher on July 24 last year when he targeted his first victim, Ms Fu Qin, at around 11.30pm. Ms Fu, who was travelling to Beijing, had placed her handbag in an X-ray machine and it detected a pair of scissors among her belongings.
Esyaran searched her handbag and spotted a gold chain, estimated to be worth $1,164, inside. While carrying the bag to the X-ray machine, he took the chain and slipped it into the right pocket of his trousers.
When he searched the bag a second time, he found $350 in cash.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Wuan said: "Tempted, he stole the $350, again concealing the cash in his glove and placing it in his right pants pocket."
Ms Fu discovered her losses only when she was in a taxi in Beijing.
Esyaran struck again a week later.
This time, he stole $106 in cash from an unidentified woman after she had shown him the contents of her pouch. The woman later approached Esyaran and asked him if he had found any money.
DPP Wuan said: "The accused said he had not and pretended to search the area, before informing (her) that the cash could not be found. Later, the accused was informed by an airline staff member that (the passenger) intended to make a complaint. This caused the accused to worry."
Esyaran tossed the cash under the X-ray machine and told his colleagues that he had "found" the money. His offences came to light after Certis Cisco Security reviewed closed-circuit television footage of the area.
District Judge Low Wee Ping said Esyaran's offences could have affected the reputation of Changi Airport. He added: "You operated like a magician with a sleight of hand. (It was) quite impressive yet appalling."
For each count of theft, Esyaran could have been jailed up to three years and fined.