The freelance painter preyed on prostitutes, stole their belongings and drove off in a car.
First, he would drive a rented car up to them and offer them money for sexual services.
Then he would drive them to a secluded place before telling them to leave their handbags in the front and move to the back seat.
There, he would haggle over the price before calling the deal off.
As soon as the women exited the car to go back to the front seat, he would lock the doors, quickly climb into the driver's seat and make off with their belongings.
Between September 2013 and November last year, he stole $1,745 in cash, three mobile phones and jewellery worth $550.
Yesterday, Tan Chin Heng (above), 46, was sentenced to five year's corrective training for three counts of theft and one count of criminal breach of trust.
The court heard that Tan had previously employed the same modus operandi on women and was sentenced to 30 months' jail in 2010 for similar offences. He was released in 2012 but within a year, he was back to his old ways.
On Sept 28, 2013, he found his first victim and made off with her handbag containing $95 in cash and one Nokia mobile phone.
He asked his second victim out on March 13 last year. They met through mobile messaging app Wechat.
He then drove her to East Coast Park and suggested she leave her handbag in the car as they take a walk along the beach.
While they were strolling, he told her that he had forgotten to take his lighter from the car.
He went back to the car and quickly drove off with her handbag containing $100, a Samsung mobile phone and $550 worth of jewellery.
He used his modus operandi on two other prostitutes in November 2014.
Court papers also said Tan had made a deal to rent a Volkswagen Jetta from Mr Chua Zhen Liang, who was helping his friend to sell the vehicle, in January.
Tan wanted to rent the car for three days before asking to extend for two more days.
But he decided to keep the car for himself and never paid Chua the agreed fee of $240 or returned the vehicle.
Tan was eventually arrested at a hotel in Geylang on Feb 23 this year after police acted on a tip that the car had been spotted.
Yesterday, Tan's lawyer, Ms N. Sudha Nair, said in mitigation that her client is engaged to a Malaysian woman, 40, who is four months pregnant.
She added that he is looking forward to seeing his newborn child and getting married to his fiancee.
Tan was sentenced to five years' corrective training - a tough regime for repeat offenders, without earlier release for good behaviour.
For each count of theft, Tan could have been jailed up to three years and/or fined.
For committing criminal breach of trust, he could have been jailed up to seven years and/or fined.
This article was first published on May 15, 2015.
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