Muhammad Resat Ahmad, 64, had pleaded guilty on Tuesday (7 March) to two counts of dishonest misappropriation of property as he stole earth cables fixed to the ceiling of Golden Landmark Shopping Centre in 2006 to sell.
The man worked as a technician for Golden Landmark for 23 years until he was arrested last year.
Mr Resat, who has two schoolgoing children, told the Court that he desperately needed more income, stating that his wife was diagnosed with endometrial cancer sometime in 2003 and had to undergo chemotherapy.
Mr Resat, who was currently unemployed, was drawing a monthly salary of S$1,210 back then.
Unfortunately, he could not get any help on the financial issue that he was facing to his friends nor relatives.
In despair, Mr Resat and a colleague then started to cut the cable wires in the ceiling with a saw between February and April 2004, and between July and September 2006. As a technician, he was given full access to the electrical service and riser rooms in the building.
They both then slit open the cables’ insulation covering, removed the copper wires, and sold them at a metal-scrap shop, earning S$6,000 which was later split equally between them.
However, an engineer hired by Far East Organisation, the building’s landlord, saw that earth cables, transformers and switch cables were missing last May, and reported the matter to the Police.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Chew Xin Ying called for a sentence of three to four months’ jail, saying that the offences were premeditated and committed over a period of time.
DPP Chew also said that Mr Resat had abused the high level of trust placed in him.
She then added that the stolen earth cables were meant as circuit-breakers to protect the building in the event of current spikes, such as when lightning strikes.
She told the Court that it was fortunate that nothing hazardous happened over the years.
However, Defence lawyer Ashwin Ganapathy stated that Mr Resat had resorted to crime due to “extenuating circumstances” and pleaded for a sentence of fewer than three weeks.
Mr Ganapathy said that Mr Resat nad his colleague’s loot comprised cables that were no longer in use or bound for replacement.
The Lawyer also told the Court that it was impossible that the cost of recovering the wires could be as high as S$70,000, as the prosecution’s suggestion and stressed that this was not the amount in the Statement of Facts agreed upon by both sides.
He also told the Court that Mr Resat would only steal “whenever he was financially desperate”, such as when he struggled to pay his wife’s medical bills or his children’s school fees.
“While (Resat) knew what he was doing was contrary to the law, he could not let his wife’s condition deteriorate,” Mr Ganapathy said.
He also added that Mr Resat had pleaded guilty and co-operated with the authorities during investigations.
Mr Resat will be sentenced on 7 April and three other charges of a similar nature will be taken into consideration when he is sentenced in April.