Serial offender jailed 15 months for theft, obscene acts, molestation

A 29-year-old jobless man, who had been in jail multiple times since 2014 for a number of offences including theft and repeatedly performing obscene acts in public, was back in court yesterday facing a string of similar charges as well as a more serious one of molestation.

Muhammad Nurizam was jailed for 15 months after pleading guilty to three theft charges, two counts of performing obscene acts in public and a molestation charge.

Seven other charges for similar offences were taken into consideration during sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Marshall Lim told the court that a 48-year-old Singapore permanent resident was alone in her Tanjong Pagar shop at around 12.30pm on Aug 27 last year when she spotted Muhammad smiling as he stood near the entrance.

She approached him and informed him that her store catered only to women, and asked him to leave. He did not reply and continued smiling at her.

He then suddenly grabbed her right breast before fleeing the scene.

DPP Lim said: "The victim was shocked and outraged by what she had experienced and lodged a police report the next day after she had calmed down."

Two other women, who worked in the same neighbourhood, also alerted the police after they spotted him fondling his genitals in public in separate incidents last year.

In addition, Muhammad admitted to stealing more than $700 in cash and valuables from the staff of three businesses in Tanjong Pagar between June and August last year.

At around 4.30pm on June 11 last year, he entered a Korean restaurant through the back door and made his way to a shelf in the kitchen where staff had placed their personal belongings.

They spotted him and one of the chefs saw Muhammad taking his wallet containing $126 in cash. They detained him before alerting the police.

The court heard that he entered another restaurant and a pub to commit similar offences after this incident.

Muhammad's lawyer, Mr Melvin Loh, assigned to the case under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, told District Judge Mathew Joseph that his client, who had lower than average IQ, has a history of major depressive and exhibitionistic disorders.

Muhammad also claimed to have been abandoned when he was young and had to live in void decks.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2018, with the headline 'Serial offender jailed 15 months for theft, obscene acts, molestation'. Print Edition | Subscribe