Teen stole bus for joyride around S'pore before being stopped

Teen stole bus for joyride around S'pore before being stopped
STOPPED: Mr Francis Toh restraining the teenage bus thief before the police arrived.

With help from his AZ Bus colleagues in the office who were using Global Positioning System (GPS) to track the bus, the operations manager managed to find the vehicle.

After more than half an hour and help from his supervisor, the cat-and-mouse chase finally came to an end.

The thief was trapped at a bus stop on Bukit Batok Central, with Mr Toh's car parked behind the bus and his supervisor, Mr Yeo, arriving in the nick of time to park in front of the bus.

The incident happened on Sunday.

A police spokesman confirmed that a case of theft of vehicle was reported and that a man has been arrested.

He is expected to be charged in court today.

Chinese evening daily Shin Min Daily News reported yesterday that the thief is a 17-year-old boy.

The bus he stole was a Class 4 vehicle, which requires a licence awarded only to drivers aged 21 years old and above.

Mr Toh told The New Paper said that he had gone to Woodlands Industrial Estate Carpark E3 at 2pm, as was his usual practice, to pick up his chartered bus for a transport service to Little India.

To his surprise, the bus was nowhere to be found.

After the 55-year-old checked with his managers that the bus had not been issued to another driver, it dawned on him that the vehicle had been stolen.

"I checked the GPS system and it said that (the bus) was at Tuas when it was supposed to be at Woodlands," said Mr Toh.

He had the location of the bus on his GPS in his phone, which told him the bus was at Jurong East. He headed straight there in pursuit of the bus.

"Every time (my colleagues in the office) told me he was at one place, by the time I got there, he was at another place.

"His driving was quite good, his turning and lane-changing was very expert.

He was driving quite fast too, around 70 kmh when you're only allowed to be driving at 60 kmh for that vehicle," said Mr Toh.

"I told him after he comes out of jail, he can come to our company for an interview," he added, jokingly.

TRACKING BUS

Mr Toh called his colleagues in the office from time to time to get directions for the route the bus was taking.

Using a GPS tracker, managers in the office were able to track the bus and its movement and discovered the thief was enjoying a joyride all over the island.

When the managers traced where the bus had been to, they saw that it had been on the move since 9am.

It had travelled from Woodlands to East Coast Park to Bukit Batok, eventually accumulating a staggering 155 km, reported Shin Min Daily News.

One of the managers who tracked the movement of the bus, Ms Cynthia Yeo, told TNP: "When we got on to the GPS, the map showed how the bus was making a merry-go-round around Singapore."

Even after the thief was trapped, he refused to give himself up.

He tried to escape through the back door. When that failed, he tried to rush back to the driver's seat, but was stopped by Mr Toh.

The police arrived soon after. Investigations are ongoing.

jeaniau@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Mar 10, 2015.
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