$10,000 in donations stolen

$10,000 in donations stolen
PHOTO: Shin Min Daily News

A thief broke into donation boxes placed at Jackpot Auntie's vegetarian food outlet last week.

The woman, whose real name is Madam Choo Hong Eng, estimated that about $10,000 was swiped.

The devout Buddhist first made the news in 2012 when she won a legal dispute with Marina Bay Sands casino and it paid out over $416,000 she was due in winnings. She donated the money to charity.

Kwan Inn Vegetarian Food is the only food stall at the coffee shop at Block 134, Geylang East Ave 1.

The theft was first discovered when an employee of the drinks stall opened the coffee shop for business and noticed that the shutters and back door were not locked.

He then saw that six of out the 10 donation boxes had been tampered with.

Closed circuit television footage showed a masked man, dressed in black, forcing open the boxes at about 11.30pm on Oct 7.

Police confirmed that a report has been made and they are in possession of the footage.

Investigations are ongoing.

Madam Choo, who had been travelling in China when the theft happened, said that she was shocked when told that the police were at her coffee shop.

"At first, I thought that my workers had got into a fight but after that, I realised that something even more serious had happened," she told The New Paper in Mandarin.

A set of keys, usually kept hidden in a back drawer in the drinks stall, has also gone missing.

Madam Choo speculated that the culprit was familiar with the coffee shop's operations.

She explained that the donation boxes from various organisations are filled by customers. She would notify the organisations to retrieve them when full.

FORCED OPEN

Of the 10 donation boxes placed there, six were forced open.

Madam Choo said: "The culprit was smart enough to choose the heavier donation boxes. Some contained donations that were collected over two to three months."

This is not the first time donation boxes there have been targeted.

Eight years ago, Madam Choo gave a diner some food as he seemed to be down and out on his luck. After the meal, he grabbed one of the boxes and fled in a taxi.

Later that year, a man was caught prying into one of them but he returned the money, she said.

The six organisations affected in this latest incident include Kampung Senang Charity & Education Foundation, Buddha of Medicine Welfare Society, Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution, Shan You Counselling Centre, National Kidney Foundation Singapore and Singapore Buddhist Free Clinic.

Kampung Senang Charity & Education Foundation's deputy general manager Kelvin Chan, 48, said it was saddened by the incident and would be awaiting the result of the investigations.

seowyr@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on October 14, 2015.
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