Emboldened by their success at stealing milk powder for their children, a couple decided to do it for profit and offered milk at a discount online.
When an order came in for 32 tins of powder, they filled it over two months by shoplifting from supermarkets.
Yesterday, the wife, Siti Husnizah Hussain, 36, was sentenced to two months in jail after admitting to stealing $2,554.30 worth of milk products between January and April. She pleaded guilty to three charges, with a further five taken into consideration.
Her husband Iskandar Samad, 26, was sentenced on July 21 to 10 months in jail for the thefts and an unrelated drug use offence.
The court heard that the couple, who have four children aged five months to eight years, had stolen milk powder for their children to consume earlier this year.
After posting advertisements on social media website Facebook to sell milk, they heard from a potential buyer, quoted a price of $1,400 for the 32 tins and said they would need a month to "make the order".
On three occasions between March 11 and April 25, they stole a total of 29 tins of powder from Giant supermarket in Sembawang Shopping Centre, each time loading the loot into a baby pram and shopping trolley.
The couple would also put other items into the trolley and pay only for these, somehow managing to walk out with the milk products undetected.
They eventually "made the order" and received payment on May 2, but were caught after a Giant employee discovered discrepancies during an inventory check and trawled through the supermarket's camera footage.
Noting that the acts were not opportunistic but "well planned" and involved a high value of stolen items, Community Court Judge Mathew Joseph called the matter a "sad case" of a husband and wife committing crimes together.
He said that as a mother of four young children, Siti Husnizah should have known better.
Being older than her husband, a former technician, she should have been more mature than him and stopped him from the acts, the judge said.
He asked the housewife: "Can you change for the sake of your children and yourself?" She replied: "Yes." For each count of theft in a building used to keep property, she could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined.
This article was published on Aug 15 in The Straits Times.
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