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Indian students sentenced to jail for attempted theft in Singapore apparel store

Four Indian students have been convicted of planning to steal apparel worth more than SGD 1,700 (approximately Rs 1,05,600) from a retail store in Singapore. According to the report of news agency PTI, he has been sentenced to 40 to 65 days for this crime. The students – Shihora Ridham Mukeshbhai (20), Hun Smit Ashokbhai (21), Kuwadia Milan Ghansyambhai (26), and Chauhan Ruchi Sanjaykumar (25) – lived together in a shared apartment in Singapore. They executed their plan by removing radio-frequency identification (RFID)-equipped price tags from the targeted apparel.

Their strategy included bypassing the store’s security alarms that were triggered by RFID tags. After separating the price tags, the quartet purchased tote bags in the self-checkout area, carefully stuffing the stolen items into these bags while making fake payments for their “purchases”. All four Indians had student passes in Singapore, the PTI report said.

Ridham, the youngest of them, pleaded guilty to one count of burglary of a dwelling and an additional count of attempting a similar crime, and received the harshest sentence. During sentencing, the remaining three pleaded guilty to one count each of burglary or attempted burglary, while considering other comparable charges.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Maximilian Chew revealed that a shoplifting incident occurred at a Uniqlo outlet in Orchard Central on October 12. Court documents identified three other Indian nationals – Bhavik (24), Vishal (23) and Darshan (22) as co-conspirators. Bhavik and Vishal start the plan by involving others in the operation. The group, consisting of eight individuals, carried out their theft at 6 pm, and successfully left the store at 7:30 pm with 64 pieces of apparel worth SGD 1,788.

Four days later, Ruchi, Ridham, Bhavik and three other friends visited the same Uniqlo outlet again. Despite employing similar procedures, their activities attracted the attention of an alert store security officer. When asked for the receipt as proof of payment, Ridham made a false excuse and claimed that his friend had the receipt somewhere else. When questioned, another member Shivam quickly left, leaving the stolen goods in the bag. The group managed to steal 72 items worth approximately SGD 2,271.

After a police report lodged by a sales assistant and examination of CCTV footage, officials nabbed the culprits. By then Bhavik, Vishal, Darshan and another member Mili had left Singapore. Deputy Public Prosecutor Chew emphasized the deliberate nature of the crimes, highlighting the substantial value of the stolen goods. In particular, the accused failed to make any compensation.

During the video-link hearing during the remand, the four accused persons pointed fingers at Bhavik and termed him the mastermind. Milan and Hun Smit claimed that Bhavik coerced them and threatened to increase the room rent or eviction if they failed to follow his instructions. Despite this, he acknowledged his awareness of the criminal nature of his actions.

PTI further reported that two women of the group, Brahmbhatt Komal Chetankumar (27) and Christian Arpita Aravindbhai (27), who were initially supposed to plead guilty, denied any intention of committing theft while blaming Bhavik. However, their petition was rejected by District Judge Teh Ai Lin, and their cases were scheduled for a pre-trial conference on 30 November.

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