‘I am your friend’, says thief when caught red-handed in victim’s living room

SINGAPORE: Despite having been sentenced to six years’ corrective training for breaking into someone’s home, a man went back to his old ways of breaking and entering upon his release.

When a woman found him standing in the living room of a unit she shared with other housemates, she asked who he was. The thief, whom she did not know, stood up slowly and told her: “I am your friend.”

Muhammad Salim, 52, was apprehended again and remanded. He pleaded guilty on Monday (Jan 29) to three charges, including theft and housebreaking with the intention to steal, with another three charges to be considered in sentencing.

The court heard that Salim was convicted of the now-repealed offence of lurking house-trespass or house-breaking to commit an offence in 2016.

It was not his first conviction for this offence. Therefore, he was sentenced to six years’ corrective training and one stroke of the cane.

Corrective training is a separate regime from imprisonment, where a long term of incarceration is imposed on repeat offenders with a view to reform the offender and correct his behaviour.

Salim was staying in a halfway house after being released in November 2021 on a “Release on License” scheme granted by the prison.

However, he absconded and began stealing. First, he took items worth S$1,300 (US$969), including a phone and driving licence from a sleeping man in Geylang on Jan 16, 2022.

Three days later, Salim climbed over a fence and into an apartment in Guillemard. He climbed into a unit through a window and stole items worth about S$1,850 from a couple, including jewellery and watches.

At about 2am on Jan 21, 2022, Salim went to a unit at 464A Geylang Road and entered via the unlocked main door.

He had consumed up to 10 Epam tablets – benzodiazepines that induce sleep – before this.

He rummaged through the living room and placed items worth more than S$4,000 in his backpack, including a laptop, power banks, tampon boxes, wallets and shoes.

Four residents in the unit were sleeping in their bedrooms. One of them woke up and spotted Salim in the living room.

She asked Salim who he was, and Salim stood up slowly and approached the main door. 

He then told her: “I am your friend.”

The woman immediately shouted for help and pulled Salim back into the living room. Her housemates went to help her and detained Salim while calling for the police.

The judge called for reports assessing Salim’s suitability for corrective training and preventive detention.

Preventive detention is a harsh punishment that places a recalcitrant offender in jail for seven to 20 years in order to protect the public from the offender.

He will return to court for sentencing next month.

This article was originally published by a www.channelnewsasia.com . Read the Original article here. .