Caught by a tracking app, jailed 26 months for stealing
Briton jailed 26 months for stealing more than $12,000 worth of cash and belongings on two trips to S'pore
He came to Singapore last year to steal.
In just two visits here barely a month apart, British national James John Watson broke into 10 lockers at two gyms and a backpackers' hostel and made off with more than $12,000 worth of cash and belongings.
Watson was thwarted by a victim who activated a tracking app for a stolen iPad, located him and called the police.
Officers found cannabis on Watson, along with housebreaking tools such as a screwdriver, three mini-crowbars and a pocket knife.
Four days after his arrest, he again broke the law by hurling vulgarities at a police officer.
Yesterday, Watson, 59, who was living in Cambodia, was jailed 26 months for theft in dwelling, drug possession and for using abusive language towards a public servant.
Court papers said Watson first arrived in Singapore on July 9 last year on a social visit pass and checked into the InnCrowd Backpackers' Hostel in Dunlop Street.
He checked out the next morning, but lingered at the premises and broke into a locker belonging to Swiss national Remo Bernasconi, 25, a fellow hostel guest.
Watson took Mr Bernasconi's belongings, including cash, credit cards, an iPod, a tablet, and storage drives worth $3,218.
Even though closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras caught Watson in the act, he avoided being arrested by leaving Singapore the next day.
Watson returned from Cambodia on Aug 3 for more loot.
The next day, he went to the Fitness First gym at The Cathay and requested to use the facilities, claiming to be an overseas member.
When he was denied entry, Watson asked if he could check out the facilities and was allowed to walk into the gym unaccompanied.
BROKE INTO 5 LOCKERS
In just 10 minutes, he went to the men's locker room, broke into five lockers, stole cash and belongings amounting to about $4,500 and left the gym.
Two days later, he used the same ruse to enter the Energia Fitness Club at Merchant Road, where he made off with $4,660 of stolen property and cash.
Watson was nabbed that day after one of the victims, Mr Gaston Ng, 33, used the "Find my iPhone" app to locate his stolen iPad.
The Singaporean, a freelance gym trainer, tracked it to Dunlop Street, where he spotted the accused and called the police.
Officers found the housebreaking tools, some of the stolen items as well about 1.79g of cannabis mixture and 1.39g of cannabis on Watson.
After his arrest, Watson suffered two heart attacks and was diagnosed with ischaemic heart disease.
On Aug 10, police investigation officer (IO) Calvell Chia visited Watson, who was then warded at Singapore General Hospital. Watson became agitated when he saw the IO.
Senior Staff Sergeant (SSSGT) Munawir Mohammad Tahir, who was on ward duty, stepped forward to calm Watson down, only for Watson to hurl vulgarities at him instead.
Watson later told the authorities that he was here to raise money for his girlfriend's medical expenses in Cambodia.
Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Jeremy Lua said in his submissions that only $5,010 worth of stolen property was recovered and no restitution was made.
Defence lawyer Henry Lim said in mitigation that his client was in poor health. He said that Watson's partner had given birth in Cambodia, but Watson did not know what happened to them.