Manager grabbed 'bomb' and threw it out of store
Man who threatened to blow up Boon Lay pawnshop in attempted robbery arrested after five-day hunt
A man walked into a ValueMax pawnshop near Boon Lay MRT station last Saturday and demanded money, claiming that he had a gun and a bomb.
When his demands were not met, he threw an object towards store manager Vincent Ng, 48, who was behind a counter with metal grilles.
As the man fled, Mr Ng grabbed the object and flung it out of the shop. It turned out to be a black belt that had several electrical items sewn on to it.
After a five-day manhunt, the police arrested a suspect at Muscat Street in Kampong Glam on Wednesday evening.
The 29-year-old Bangladeshi national, a former construction worker, had overstayed since last December, the police said.
Recalling the attempted robbery yesterday, Mr Ng told The New Paper that the man, who wore a pink turban, had flung a black plastic bag through the metal grilles and yelled: "I need cash. Put all the cash inside the bag."
Mr Ng said: "I would be lying if I said I wasn't afraid. I was especially worried because three colleagues were with me."
Fortunately, there were no customers in the store, which is often packed.
In closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage shown to TNP, the man twice flashed what looked like a gun, and then a kitchen knife.
As the agitated robber paced about, Mr Ng pressed the panic button and told his colleagues to hide. Two ran to the back of the store and one ducked behind the counter.
The man then threatened to blow up the pawnshop, shouting: "You guys aren't afraid of dying? I have a bomb!"
Mr Ng said it was his first time facing a robber in his 10 years at the company but he remained calm and called the police after the man fled. According to the CCTV footage, the incident was over in three minutes.
At a press conference yesterday morning, Deputy Commissioner of Police Florence Chua said the suspect was surprised to be caught as he had gone to great lengths to conceal his identity.
DCP Chua, who is also director of the Criminal Investigation Department, commended a resident who told them about a black backpack hidden behind several potted plants outside his flat in Jurong West.
The suspect had allegedly hidden the backpack containing his disguise and a chopper after fleeing. He was identified from police cameras at the block, leading to his arrest near his home on Wednesday.
Police are still searching for the "gun", a replica assembled from plastic parts.
The suspect will be charged in court today with armed robbery and exhibiting an imitation firearm while committing the offence.
If convicted of armed robbery, he could be jailed for up to seven years and be given at least 12 strokes of the cane. If convicted of exhibiting an imitation firearm when committing an offence, he could be jailed for up to 10 years.