Romanian trio arrested in early morning raid for theft
Trio arrested in early morning raid after allegedly using sleight-of-hand deception to steal money, jewellery from shops
Using sleight-of-hand tactics, they allegedly approached cashiers at supermarkets and shops to buy items like chocolate bars and cigarettes.
They then asked to change currencies into smaller denominations before pocketing some of it, worth several thousand dollars, from distracted cashiers.
The police tracked them down to a Geylang budget hotel and arrested them early yesterday morning while they were sleeping.
On March 29, three Romanians - two men aged 28 and 39, and a woman aged 25 - entered Singapore on social visit passes.
They then allegedly committed at least 12 thefts involving sleight-of-hand methods at supermarkets and retailers islandwide from March 31 to April 2.
Yesterday, at a press conference at Tanglin Police Headquarters at Kampong Java Road, the police said they had received several reportsfrom victims about missing cash. The modus operandi was similar.
At least one case involved sleight of hand to steal a gold chain from a goldsmith's shop.
Officers from Tanglin Division examined CCTV footage of areas near the crime scenes.
Their big break came when the suspects were caught on CCTV alighting from a car near one of the affected supermarkets before the crime had been committed. From the car's licence plate, officers traced the vehicle to a rental company at Changi Airport and identified the suspects.
The Romanians were stunned and did not put up much of a struggle when officers woke them up at around 5.55am yesterday in their budget hotel room in Geylang Lorong 18 and arrested them.
There, police recovered Singapore currency worth about $5,000, American currency worth about US$6,000 (S$8,400), other currencies of various denominations, four mobile phones and an assortment of jewellery.
The suspects will be charged in court todaywith theft with common intentionand will be remanded at Tanglin Division for further investigations.
If convicted, they can be jailed up to three years and/or fined.