It was daring and deceptive - the unarmed thief, who was wearing a Sheng Siong supermarket uniform, chose to strike in broad daylight.
It was the uniform that fooled a sales assistant at Xin Tai Long pawn shop in Marsiling Lane.
The thief got away with gold chains worth over $10,000 on Sunday afternoon.
The sales assistant, who wished to be known only as Ms Cheong, 30, said: "He was dressed properly, wearing a Sheng Siong shirt and jeans. Maybe that caused me to let down my guard."
CCTV footage from the shop, which opened four months ago, showed a man wearing a yellow cap walking in at 2.05pm.
The cap was "pulled down low so it covered much of his face," said Ms Cheong.
Ms Cheong and two colleagues were in the shop when the man requested to see gold chains worth $5,000. He claimed to have received a bonus from his company.
"He was leaning onto the table, shoulders hunched, so I couldn't see his face," she said.
She later brought out three gold chains. The man took them to look at.
About 10 minutes later, he dashed off with them, shocking everyone in the shop.
Ms Cheong wanted to climb over the counter-top to stop him, but it was too high.
"There was nothing else on my mind but to catch him," she said.
She chased after the thief with her female colleague. The other colleague, a man, pressed a panic button alerting Certis Cisco of the incident.
There were no security guards stationed at the pawnshop.
"Right when I ran out of the shop, I shouted 'theft! theft! Help me chase after that guy!'" said Ms Cheong.
She and her colleague, along with six passers-by, chased the man for about 200m before they lost him.
"He was too fast for us. He disappeared around the bend at the PAP Community Foundation childcare centre at Block 15," said Ms Cheong.
One of the passers-by called the police at about 2.25pm.
JOINED IN CHASE
Mr Raja Anthiran, 58, a driver, was among those who joined in the chase. He was having a drink at a hawker centre opposite the pawnshop.
"Afternoons are usually quiet here. I didn't expect such an incident.
"I've known this neighbourhood to be friendly," said Mr Raja, who has lived there for five years.
Shop owners told The New Paper that the area is usually peaceful and safe.
Mr Aslam Abdulla, 27, a cashier at Al-Fatah Provision Shop which is near the pawn shop, said: "The people here are very warm and helpful but after what happened, I'm sure everyone feels worried for their safety."
Mr Michael Tan, 28, who works at Xin Tai Long pawn shop but who was not working that Sunday, said: "I have worked in many other pawn shops and I think theft is a common occurrence."
Police have classified the case as theft and are investigating.
This article was published on April 8 in The New Paper.
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