Snatch thief hid in sewer, but later caught and jailed one year for offence

SINGAPORE - A 30-year-old man was sentenced to a year in jail on Monday for snatch theft, despite his attempt to evade arrest by hiding in an uncovered manhole that he had accidentally fallen into.

Muhammad Ibrahim Abdul Kafoo, 30, had pleaded guilty to snatching the handbag of lawyer Lesley Fu in April outside Chijmes near City Hall.

On April 29, he walked towards Ms Fu and ran off after grabbing her red handbag. She went after the thief with two police officers, but they lost sight of him near some road works being carried out near Saint Andrew's Cathedral.

It turned out that the man had fallen through an uncovered manhole at the worksite, and decided it was a good place to lay low till his pursuers gave up. He stayed hidden for about 15 minutes, emerged completely soaked, and took a taxi back home.

Muhammad Ibrahim was sentenced to a year in jail on Monday after pleading guilty to the April 29 snatch theft, an offence carries a jail term of between one and seven years and caning. His total punishment is seven years in prison and five strokes of the cane, after including that for two unrelated drug offences and a count of driving under disqualification. Muhammad Ibrahim was given a driving ban of three years for the last offence. Four other charges were taken into consideration.

Investigations revealed he snatched Ms Fu's red handbag because he needed money to pay for traffic fines. The $240 bag was eventually recovered soaked in mud, with an office access card, toilet key and red iPod Nano missing from it.

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