Kopitiam manager stole cash, then staged robbery as cover up
After stealing $26,000 from Kopitiam, he masterminded a staged robbery to explain away the missing sums.
Yesterday, Lee Kah Yeow, 49, who worked for Kopitiam for 18 years, was jailed for 25 weeks after pleading guilty to one count of criminal breach of trust.
He was employed by Kopitiam around 2002, and rose to the rank of manager, stationed at the Rivervale Plaza Kopitiam outlet.
He was one of only two staff members who had keys to a safe inside the office containing the cash from retail sales, payments from tenants and kiosk sales.
Lee claimed he had around $40,000 worth of gambling debts, and was earning a monthly salary of $2,900.
To repay his debts, he stole cash from the safe over a period on or before March 3 last year.
To prevent his employer from finding out, he came up with a plan to stage a robbery at the office.
He told the plan to his co-accused Tan Lye Meng, 48, who was unemployed at the time.
Tan was told to go to the office on a Sunday and bring a knife along, acting such that the staged robbery would be convincing when captured on video by the security camera.
Tan was told he could keep the money from the safe.
At about 11.45am on March 3 last year, Lee told Tan to carry out the plan.
Tan entered the office, pulled out a knife from a black bag, and pointed it at Lee.
He instructed Lee to fill the bag with money from the safe, and the accused promptly did so. Tan got away with a total of $6,000.
Lee then called the police claiming he was robbed in the office.
His employer did not know he was stealing until after the incident.
Lee was arrested on March 6 last year, but did not admit to staging the robbery and stealing the money in his first long statement and subsequent cautioned statement.
Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Tay Jingxi urged the court to jail him for at least six months.
Lee's lawyer Tan Beng Hock said his client has paid back the $26,000 in full, and asked the court for a fine instead, or a jail term of 16 to 20 weeks.
For criminal breach of trust, Lee could have been jailed for up to seven years, or fined, or both.
Tan has already been dealt with, after being arrested on March 7 last year.
He was convicted on Jan 9 and jailed for four months for receiving stolen property.