Teenager admits to trying to break into jewellery stores with blowtorch

A blowtorch in use. (PHOTO: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
A blowtorch in use. (PHOTO: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

A 17-year-old who attempted to break into two jewellery stores with two others pleaded guilty to his offences on Tuesday (17 July).

Mohammad Faris Mohammad Fadzir was convicted in the State Courts of two charges of attempted break-in. Another similar charge, one charge of theft, and one charge of escape from custody were taken into consideration.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Jaime Pang told the court that Faris’s role was to carry as much jewellery as he could after his accomplice Saatish Gautham, 19, managed to gain entry into the stores.

Both Saathis and Faris were roped in by Jamal Razeen Abdul Ghani, 19, who had debts to pay off. Jamal promised to share the spoils with them. He was sentenced to reformative training in May while Saatish will be dealt with separately.

Jamal had arranged for a blowtorch to be delivered to Saatish’s place in Boon Lay on 10 March. He taught Saatish how to operate the torch, which would be used to dismantle the metal doors of the jewellery shops.

The trio met later that night with the blowtorch and a bag containing other tools and headed to Merlin Goldsmith along Serangoon Road. Jamal directed Saatish and Faris to stay at the back of the shop while he stationed himself at the junction of Serangoon Road and Upper Dickson Road to act as a lookout.

Saatish used the blowtorch to cut the hinges of the gate while Faris stood watch nearby. About half an hour later, Faris alerted Saatish that a man was looking. Saatish hid the blowtorch behind a cardboard, pushed the bag of tools away, and walked to Little India MRT station.

Jamal met them there and the trio took a taxi back to his place. About 45 minutes later, Jamal suggested they make another attempt. They returned to Serangoon Road, picked up the blow torch and bag, before heading to Jewel Place, a jewellery shop.

Saatish dismantled the roller shutters and Faris used a hammer to break the lock. This triggered the CISCO anti-theft alarm in the shop, prompting the trio to flee.

The owner of Jewel Place received a call from CISCO security informing him that the alarm had gone off at his shop. An employee who was sent to check on the shop found a broken lock and burnt marks on the roller shutters. The police were then called.

DPP Pang noted that Faris had committed multiple offences previously including theft and rioting. He had committed his current offences while he was on the run after having escaped from the Singapore Boy’s Home on 12 February this year.

The court granted DPP Pang’s request for a suitability report to admit Faris into the Reformative Training Centre (RTC).

Young offenders between 14 and 21 years old who are sent to the RTC spend a minimum of 18 months and up to 36 months in the centre. RTC inmates are placed under a regime involving foot drills, education and counselling.