Indian-origin man jailed for stealing excavator in Singapore

After committing the theft, Nanthakumaran Lokanathan fled to Malaysia and was arrested only two years later

Indian-origin man jailed for stealing excavator in Singapore

Photo for representation only

Singapore, August 27

A 44-year-old Indian-origin Singaporean man was jailed here for two-and-a-half years for stealing an excavator and attempting to sell it to a heavy-vehicle repairman in March 2018, according to a media report.

After committing the theft, Nanthakumaran Lokanathan fled to Malaysia and was arrested only two years later, reported TODAY newspaper.

He was sentenced on Thursday.

Court documents did not state how he stole the heavy construction equipment, which was worth about 31,000 Singaporean dollars, according to the report.

The court heard that construction firm Ram Brothers Construction & Trading rented it and last left it along a pathway outside 14 Jalan Tukang in Jurong Industrial area on March 28, 2018.

The next day, a representative from the firm checked the excavator's global positioning system and realised that it was on the premises of used-vehicle-parts dealer Hon Li Hin Enterprise, in the Kranji industrial area.

Closed-circuit television camera footage showed that Nanthakumaran brought the excavator into the compound that day before leaving.

Nanthakumaran had earlier approached Mok Fook Wah, a third-party heavy-vehicle repairman, to sell an excavator.

Mok then referred him to Jway Hong Chua, the director of Hon Li Hin Enterprise.

Nanthakumaran called Jway with his sales pitch on March 25, 2018, three days before the excavator went missing.

Nanthakumaran followed Jway's request to deliver the vehicle to his premises.

However, before Nanthakumaran could receive any money, Ram Brothers recovered the excavator from Jway on March 30, 2018.

Nanthakumaran left for Malaysia that day when he found out that the police were searching for him.

He was arrested at the Woodlands Checkpoint only on April 17 last year.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Chee Ee Ling asked for a jail term of two-and-a-half to three years, noting that Nanthakumaran had re-offended soon after his release from seven years of corrective training in January 2018 for attempted theft.

Corrective training, typically given to habitual offenders, carries a minimum five-year jail term. Early release for good behaviour is not allowed.

In mitigation, Nanthakumaran's lawyer Justin Phua argued that his client ultimately did not gain financially from the theft and did it out of “poverty, foolhardiness and desperation”.

In sentencing him, District Judge Eugene Teo considered Nanthakumaran's early plea of guilt and that the excavator was recovered soon after the theft, which reduced the harm caused by his acts.

The judge also warned Nanthakumaran not to “end up in the same situation again”. PTI

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