Two Vietnamese were sentenced to four and a half years in jail each in Singapore Thursday for breaking into a wholesale center and stealing 500,000 Singapore dollars, or nearly US$350,000, last January.
Nguyen Van Nhat, 23, and Ngo Quang Phuoc, 35, were arrested at a hotel on January 5, just hours after a fruit shop owner discovered the break-in and found his safe had been cut open.
The indictment said the duo had gambled away thousands of dollars at a casino after arriving in Singapore on January 1 and did not have enough left to buy flight tickets to Hanoi, Channel News Asia reported.
They decided to steal money from Nhat’s former workplace, where he knew his boss usually kept large sums of money to pay employees in cash.
They spent around $220 on buying a grinder, crowbar, hammer drill, a cutter, screwdrivers, and an extension plug.
On the night of January 4 Nhat kept watch while Phuoc, who worked in construction, climbed into the shop through the roof by removing a ventilator, cut a hole in the safe and packed money in four bags.
The bags were so heavy that he left behind one in a box on the rooftop. The police later found it containing $20,700.
They used the money to check into a hotel and buy luxury items the next day.
Police tracked them down using DNA tests and questioning taxi drivers in the area.
Most of the money, meant to pay the company’s employees their salary and bonuses ahead of the Chinese New Year in early February, has been recovered following the arrest.
Burglary is punishable by up to 14 years' imprisonment in Singapore.