Teen learnt how to hot-wire motorcycles from YouTube to steal them

SINGAPORE - A 17-year-old youth taught himself to hot-wire motorcycles by watching YouTube videos so he could steal the motorbikes with his friends.

He would cut the ignition wires to get the engine going, the court heard.

The teen, who cannot be named as he had committed the offences while he was under 18, was sentenced to at least a year's reformative training.

He will be detained at a centre and made to follow a strict regimen that includes foot drills and counselling.

The teen was also barred from holding all classes of driving licences for a year from the date of his release.

His co-accused, 19-year-old Mohamad Syafiq Mohamad Jeffery, was sentenced to 1½ years of supervised probation and prohibited from holding all classes of driving licences during that period.

The court heard that the two youths and their friend went to a multi-storey carpark in Admiralty Drive on Sept 13 last year.

They chose to steal a purple Yamaha YZF-R15 motorcycle, which is worth around $10,000.

Between 1am and 3am, the 17-year-old hot-wired the bike and Syafiq rode it to a friend's house. Syafiq did not have a licence at the time.

Later that same day, at around 8am to 10am, the trio met at a carpark in Canberra Road to disguise the stolen motorcycle by spray painting it black.

They soon realised, however, that they could not start the bike using the same method and abandoned it at the carpark.

Police officers patrolling the area suspected that the spray-painted motorcycle had been stolen, as it did not have a licence plate. They were able to find the vehicle's registration number, which led them to its owner.

At around 6.30pm that same day, Syafiq and the teen tried to steal another motorcycle from a multi-storey carpark in Wellington Circle in Sembawang.

They picked out a silver and blue motorcycle of the same Yamaha model.

After the teen hot-wired it, Syafiq swapped the licence plate of the bike with another licence plate he found in the carpark.

The owner of the blue motorcycle made a police report when he discovered his vehicle had gone missing, but later found it in Yishun.

In sentencing them, district judge May Mesenas urged the two youths to focus on their studies and stay away from negative peers. She also advised their parents, who were present in court, to supervise their children.

The third youth will be dealt with separately.

For theft of a motor vehicle, the two youths could have been jailed up to seven years and fined.