'It sounded like someone shooting'
Unknown object breaks condo window, likely at high speed
It was tiny, probably round and definitely hard.
And it came through the toilet window, leaving a small hole with cracks around it.
It could have hit junior college student Karan Singh Randhawa.
Fortunately, the 17-year-old, who was washing his face at the sink, had lowered his head just as the object came flying in, likely at great speed. (See report on right.)
The sound, a loud "tak", surprised him. He turned around, saw a hole in the window and quickly walked out of the toilet.
Karan recounted: "I was a bit scared. I didn't know what was going on and the sound was quite loud. After that, I could hear the sound of glass dropping onto the floor."
The incident happened at The Tropica condominium in Tampines around 6.50pm on Saturday.
Karan and his family live in a first-storey unit.
The teen said the "tak" sound was so loud that his grandmother, who has a minor hearing problem, could hear it from the living room.
Madam Piaro, 87, recounted: "It sounded like somebody shooting. It (the force) must have been very strong to break the glass."
Glass shards were found near the living room - 5m from the toilet window - and they missed Madam Piaro by 2m.
Karan then went outside his apartment to check.
He said: "The only people I saw were two or three six-year-olds playing football a distance away. The hole (about half a centimetre in diameter) couldn't have been made by the ball because the hole is really small."
Karan informed his mother and she asked him to call their neighbour for help as she was busy.
Their neighbour, who gave his name only as Mr Paul, 55, was alarmed when he saw the damage.
The salesman, who said he had previously worked in the police field in the US, told The New Paper: "If I'm in the US, it looks like it was caused by an airgun or BB (ball-bearing) gun."
He added that based on the location of the toilet window, there was no way a child could have climbed up there.
The toilet window overlooks the basement carpark, with some trees and plants nearby.
Karan's mother, Ms Dolly Mirpuri, 49, made a police report later.
The general manager of a furnishing company said: "We have things falling on our front yard, but this is different and it is the first time it has happened."
She added that there is no animosity with her neighbours.
They have lived there for about 12 years.
"I don't think I was a target. I believe it was someone playing a prank that went wrong," she maintained.
Ms Mirpuri has informed the building management about what happened.
She said: "I'm anxious. I don't know how to deal with this."
But she is thankful no one was hurt.
Police confirmed that a report was made. They have classified the case as one of mischief and are investigating.
CRACK COULD BE CAUSED BY CATAPULT: EXPERT
Based on its shape, the hole could have been caused by a very fast projectile from outside.
Ballistics expert Philip Boyce, who has over 20 years of experience as a forensics scientist, noted that part of the glass inside the window had shattered.
Therefor, he determined the projectile to have been moving very fast.
While he could not determine if it was a bullet without seeing the window himself, Mr Boyce, who specialises in gunshot residue marks, said the crack could also have been caused by a catapult.
"If it was made from a shooting, I would normally expect the projectile to be in the room," he said.
"Dry swabs for chemical testing for copper and lead around the hole could well give an indication if it was made by a bullet," he added.
Mr Boyce is an independent consultant at his own firm, Forensic Scientific, which is based in the United Kingdom.
- Ronald Loh