SINGAPORE - A Romanian odd-job labourer Anghel Baron, 28, his girlfriend, Sava Loloi, 25, unemployed, and his older half-brother, Bugneriu Galatean, 38, were jailed 14 months, 12 months and six months' respectively for going on a stealing spree while on holiday in Singapore.
Baron, who was the most culpable, faced 13 charges involving $11,549. Loloi faced 12 and Galatean, faced three charges.
The court heard that the trio had enough money - about €6,000 ($9,257) and various amounts of foreign currencies - for their eight-day trip here but chose the easy way out.
District Judge Kenneth Yap when sentencing the trio said that a deterrent message needed to be sent out so that Singapore was not seen a "destination for such criminal tourists''.
Accused persons who choose to commit crimes in a foreign country must know that any hardship they suffer is clearly self-induced and would not be considered, he added .
Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Yanying said the group arrived in Singapore on March 29 and were to leave on April 5.
Baron rented a car at Changi Airport so that it would be easy to get around Singapore. On the day they arrived, he suggested to Loloi and Galatean that they steal from shops to earn some easy money. He assured them that they would not get caught.
Baron told them that he would commit the theft as he was "quick with his hands". Loloi and Galatean agreed to his plan.
They had clear divisions of role - Baron was to steal items, distract staff and drive the car while the other two would help to ensure that he did not get caught by distracting the shop staff. Baron would hand over the stolen items to Loloi.
DPP Tan said at supermarkets, Baron would buy a small item costing less than $5. At the cashier counter, he would hand over a stack of $100 notes to be changed into $50 notes.
After getting the money, he would surreptitiously remove a few pieces and keep them in his hand or pants pocket. To distract the cashier and avoid detection, he would talk to the cashier and ask for change in even smaller denominations.
When informed it was not possible to provide notes in smaller denominations, he would deceitfully ask for the return of his original stack of $100 bills and claim that he no longer wanted the bills exchanged into smaller denominations.
Baron would make a quick exit, return to the rental car and move on to the next supermarket.
NTUC FairPrice at Coronation Plaza lodged a police report that money had been stolen on March 31.
After extensive follow-up investigations, the trio were arrested at Hotel 81 in Lorong 18 Geylang.
Among the items seized by the police were $3,420 in cash that was stolen from various supermarkets in Loloi's wallet, an iPhone, a $5,000 chain and a gold bracelet worth $2,329.
In sentencing, Judge Yap said this was a sophisticated scheme and that there was planning and premeditation.
The maximum penalty for theft is three years' jail and a fine for each charge.