SINGAPORE — A tourist from China who had accumulated about $19,500 in credit card debts and was in a despondent state as her mother was sick stole $18,750 worth of clothing from luxury retailer Gucci in Singapore, a court heard.
But Huang Shiyuan, 26, had the means to pay for the items she stole - she had spent more than $7,000 on luxury items from Louis Vuitton, $870 on items from Salvatore Ferragamo and $325 on items from Coach.
She committed the thefts at two Gucci outlets simply because she thought it was “easy to steal from Gucci”, the court heard. And she wanted to sell the stolen items online to pay for her mother’s medical expenses.
At the State Courts on Friday (23 August), Huang was jailed for nine weeks after she pleaded guilty to two charges of theft.
Removed price tags
Huang visited Singapore on 14 December last year and stayed at Crockfords Tower, an all-suite hotel at Resorts World Sentosa.
Two days later, on 16 December, she stole a cardigan worth $4,500 from the Gucci outlet at Marina Bay Sands.
The next day, she went to the Gucci outlet at Paragon mall in Orchard Road.
She took a cardigan valued at $2,430 and went into a changing room, where she removed the price tag from the item and placed it into her bag before leaving the room.
About 15 minutes later, she took a blouse priced at $2,920 and repeated the modus operandi. Huang then left the store without paying for the items.
On 19 December, Huang went back to the Gucci outlet at Marina Bay Sands.
The store manager recognised her and called the police at about 6.30pm, requesting for officers to come quickly.
At about 7.10pm, Huang took a blouse worth $4,400 and a cardigan priced at $4,500 and went into a changing room. There, she removed the price tags from the items, placed the blouse underneath her dress and the cardigan into her bag.
When she exited the fitting room, police officers detained her and found the newly-stolen items.
Huang admitted that she had the means to pay for the items. She said she tried to steal from Gucci as she felt that it was easy to steal from the store.
The next day, police officers went to her hotel room and found the other items which she had earlier stolen.
In sentencing, District Judge Marvin Bay said, “Ms Huang appeared to have been emboldened by the success of her first theft from Gucci when she found it ‘easy to steal from Gucci’, to have opportunistically exploited the discretion afforded to customers to try out apparel at their own leisure in the changing room, to successively spirit off items of luxury clothing.”
He noted that while Huang was suffering from major depressive disorder and alcohol use disorder, the conditions had been assessed by two psychiatrists not to have contributed to the commission of the offences.
The judge also noted that Huang was a first-time offender, the amount involved in the charges are fairly substantial, the thefts were not impulsive in nature, and that the crimes did not involve complex planning.
For each of her charges of theft in a building, Huang could have been jailed for up to seven years and also fined.
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