Maid stole from employer's mother, hid cash in underwear

Woman with hands cuffed behind her back.
Woman with hands cuffed behind her back. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A maid stole money from a provision shop run by her employer’s mother in Singapore with the intention to build a house in the Philippines.

Lumadao Mila Cagdan, 25, stole a key from her residence before sneaking out by climbing out from the second storey with a ladder and heading to the shop.

The Filipina was jailed for one year and four months on Monday (21 June), after pleading guilty to one count of housebreaking in order to commit theft, with one count of theft taken into consideration for her sentencing.

Lumadao was employed as a domestic worker and lived in the same household as her employer, his mother, 58, and his sister, 26. The older woman owned a provision shop named the Marina Pier Shop, located at Marina South Pier Checkpoint.

On 12 April, Lumadao devised a plan to steal money from the shop to pay for the construction of her house back home. She knew that the shop owner's daughter had a key to the shop and decided to steal it from her.

At around 10pm that day, Lumadao entered the younger woman’s room to bring dinner to her and discovered that she was not in the room. Lumadao searched her bag and found a set of keys. She hid the keys in the store room of her residence and waited for everyone to go to bed.

While everyone was sleeping, she exited the unit surreptitiously by tying a ladder to the window of the unit’s second-floor store room with a bedsheet.

Lumadao then climbed down the ladder. She took a taxi to the shop and arrived at about 12.15am.

After unlocking the door with the key, she stole S$11,044.50 and US$2,053 (S$27,17.31). She left the shop some six minutes later and returned to her employer’s house via a taxi. She entered the same way she had left and split the cash into six portions, hiding them in different bags in various locations in the storeroom.

When Lumadao woke up, she hid S$1,250 in her underwear, intending to remit the money back to the Philippines.

The employer's mother made a police report on 13 April in the morning after discovering the cash missing. The police identified the maid from CCTV footage before they arrested Lumadao later on the same day.

The maid surrendered US$2,053 and S$1,764 to the police, who later searched her and found the S$1,250 that was in her underwear.

On 14 April, Lumadao confessed to the location of the remaining stolen money and the police recovered the full sum along with the keys.

In mitigation, she asked for a lighter sentence and a second chance.

Speaking through an interpreter, Lumadao said, “I’m the sole breadwinner of my family. I am pleading Your Honour to please give me a lighter sentence so that I can go back with my family.”

For housebreaking to commit theft, Lumadao could have been jailed up to 10 years, and fined.

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