Man who stole metal bench from bus stop given 7-day short detention order

A metal bench at a bus stop along Anson Road. PHOTO: Vernon Lee/Yahoo News Singapore
A metal bench at a bus stop along Anson Road. PHOTO: Vernon Lee/Yahoo News Singapore

A man unscrewed and stole a metal bench from a bus stop along Braddell Road and brought it home because he wanted such a bench for his new flat.

On Tuesday, (9 October), Tan Ke Wei, a 22-year-old Singaporean, was sentenced to a seven-day short detention order (SDO) after he pleaded guilty to one count of committing mischief.

An SDO means that Tan will not have a criminal record when he is released.

The court heard that on 14 June last year, Tan went to the bus stop at around 11.50pm to take a bus. While waiting for the bus, he meddled with the bolts that secured the grey-coloured metal bench at the bus stop.

As the bolts were not securely fastened to the ground, he managed to unscrew all eight bolts with his hands. After removing the bench, he wrapped it with a trash bag and took a taxi home.

Upon reaching his flat, Tan went to the ninth storey of his block and hid the trash bag containing the bench inside a riser unit.

The next day, the police received a tip off from a witness who saw Tan unscrewing the bench.

Police officers tracked down Tan and raided his flat. Tan brought officers to the riser unit and showed them the trash bag containing the metal bench. The bench was then seized.

The Land Transport Authority later confirmed that the metal bench belonged to it and said it was worth $1,500.

Tan later told investigators that he removed the metal bench because it looked nice and he wanted to check its dimensions.

He intended to renovate his new flat with the home design based on an integrated bus stop and has ordered a bench from a supplier, according to the prosecution.

Lawyer Goh Hui Nee, who represented Tan, said in mitigation that her client’s actions were not planned.

Tan, who has suffered from adjustment disorder since he was 14, was having insomnia at the time of the offence, Goh told the court.

He was waiting for buses of older models to appear at the bus stop as he was aware that these buses would stop there, the lawyer added.

Being concerned for the safety of commuters, Tan had tightened the bolts back into the screws, which were protruding from the ground, for fear that commuters might trip on them.

The lawyer pointed out that there was no malice involved, and that there was no loss of property since the bench was recovered.

For committing mischief and causing a loss or damage amounting to $500 or more, Tan could have been jailed two years and/or fined.

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