THEY had been entrusted with transporting cash meant for bank machines.
Instead, former Certis Cisco auxiliary police officers Palwinder Singh Harjan Singh and Theywa Subramaniam helped themselves to $146,900.
The two Malaysians were yesterday sent to jail for misappropriation, with 27-year-old Theywa, who received a longer sentence of three years, also pleading guilty to taking the money to Malaysia.
His 21-year-old accomplice got two years and six months.
In handing down the punishments, District Judge Siva Shanmugam pointed out several aggravating factors - premeditation, the substantial amount of money involved and the blatant abuse of trust. "The accused persons had misappropriated the very property they had undertaken to protect. The offences had also undermined public confidence in the security courier industry," he said.
The court heard how on Sept 17 last year, the two - then constables attached to Cisco's security transport unit - were part of a three-member team when they drew cartridges, some of which were loaded with money, from the Cash Processing Centre. But before starting their morning shift, the duo hatched a plan to misappropriate some of the cash.
When they arrived at Plaza Singapura at about 6am, the pair loaded a sealed bag with two "buffer" cartridges containing $220,000 each onto a trolley - without the knowledge of the third team member, who drove them there.
These cartridges were not supposed to be removed from the vehicle. But they pushed the bag into a cubicle of a basement-level toilet. Theywa then broke the bag's seal and unlocked the two cartridges to remove stacks of $100 bills, totalling $146,900. He put the money into two envelopes, while Palwinder kept watch outside.
When they returned to the headquarters, Theywa put the money inside his personal bag and left for home in Johor Baru.
The duo were arrested on Oct 14 and $135,000 was seized from Theywa's home.
Responding to a media query, a Certis Cisco spokesman said: "Certis Cisco takes a very serious view of such misdemeanours... On the same day of the alleged thefts, our officers from Certis Cisco Secure Logistics had discovered the shortfall... Internal investigations commenced immediately and a police report was lodged on Sept 21, 2013."
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.