A scholar who stole brassieres was spared jail yesterday, but was ordered to undergo psychological treatment for a year.
When Jonathan Peh Song Wee, a 26-year-old research engineer at the Defence Science Organisation, was arrested at his home on Nov 18, police found 228 bras which he could not account for.
Defence lawyer Lee Ping said her client, who was awarded a Defence Science and Technology Agency scholarship in 2007 to do aerospace engineering, had developed a fetish for female underwear when he was in the first and second year.
He had a particular liking for sports bras.
He was diagnosed with the condition by an Institute of Mental Health psychiatrist only last year, after he was caught.
On Nov 16, Peh unlawfully entered a Temasek Hall hostel block at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and stole a $47 bra in a common corridor.
The next day, police got a call from Temasek Hall's manager, saying an undergarment thief had been caught but got away, leaving behind his identity card.
After his arrest, investigations showed that he was involved in several such incidents dating back to 2010. The incident that year occurred at Nanyang Technological University, where he was a student.
Last August, Peh stole his neighbour's two Nike sports bras, worth $110, which were hung on a rack along the common corridor of his block in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4.
A few months later on Oct 17, he went to Raffles Hall at NUS, where he stole another sports bra worth $50 from a student.
Peh pleaded guilty to five charges of criminal trespass, theft and fraudulent possession, with eight others taken into consideration.
As part of his mandatory treatment order, Peh will continue with psychotherapy.
Mandatory treatment order is one of five community sentences which took effect from 2011. It is aimed at offenders who suffer from a psychiatric condition - the court orders medical treatment of up to two years in lieu of jail time.
Peh's neighbour, Rowena Repollo Tampus, told The Straits Times last night that she had lost five Nike sports bras since July last year. Now, she hangs all underwear inside the house.
The 39-year-old maid, who has worked with her employer's family for 20 years, said: "I couldn't believe it was him, because I have seen him grow up since young and even attended his birthday party a few years ago."
This article by The Straits Times was published in MyPaper, a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.