Hearing that it was easy to steal from donation boxes in places of worship here, a pair of Chinese nationals came to Singapore to try their luck.
Their tools were a laptop bag with a secret slit and a sticky blade to pull the money out.
But on Friday, Qin Zhipu, 31, and his 37-year-old accomplice Qin Chaofan landed in jail. The younger man received nine months in prison, while the other was jailed for six months.
The duo from Guangxi, who are not related, were caught red-handed by police at Cheng Hong Siang Tng Temple in Arumugam Road on Nov 28 last year when they stole $38 from the donation box. This was two days after they got away with $500.
On Nov 26, after arriving at the temple in Paya Lebar at 9.30am, the pair found that there was no one in the main prayer hall, where the donation box was located.
Chaofan then placed the laptop bag he was carrying on the box.
He shone a torch through the slit in the bag to check if there was cash inside, after which he slid the blade wrapped with masking tape into the box.
He moved the blade around so that cash would stick onto it.
Three months earlier, Zhipu and another compatriot, Wei Jia, stole $70 from Sultan Mosque in Muscat Road. But their theft on Aug 29 was captured on closed-circuit television.
While Zhipu acted as a lookout, Wei placed a black laptop bag on top of the donation box and pretended to look for something inside it. Wei has returned to China and has not been charged.
Chaofan and Zhipu, both of whom pleaded guilty, could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined on each charge.
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