A snatch thief was running away from the police when he fell into an uncovered manhole - and found it a good place to lie low.
Cleaner Muhammad Ibrahim Abdul Kafoo stayed hidden for 15 minutes before he emerged completely soaked in rainwater and took a taxi home.
But the law found him out and the 30-year-old was yesterday sentenced to a year in jail for snatching a handbag.
On April 29, he had walked towards lawyer Lesley Fu outside Chijmes in Victoria Street, grabbed her red handbag off her shoulder and fled.
She went after him with two police officers, but they lost sight of him near some roadworks in the vicinity of Saint Andrew's Cathedral.
It turned out that he had fallen through an uncovered manhole filled with rainwater at the worksite. He hid there till his pursuers gave up.
Three days later, Muhammad Ibrahim was arrested after investigations near Pinevale condominium at Tampines Street 73, where he then worked.
He could have been jailed between one and seven years and caned for using criminal force to steal from the lawyer.
His total punishment handed down yesterday was seven years in prison and five strokes of the cane. This was for offences including three unrelated drug violations and a count of driving under disqualification.
Muhammad Ibrahim was given a driving ban of three years for the last offence. Four other charges were taken into consideration.
Investigations revealed that he had snatched Ms Fu's handbag because he needed money to pay traffic fines.
When the $240 bag was eventually found, it was caked with mud and missing an office access card, a toilet key and a red iPod Nano.
This article was first published on May 27, 2014.
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