Cuckoo thief falls prey to theft

SINGAPORE - A man who stole a bird cage with a $1,200 cuckoo inside had the items stolen from him later the same day.

H. Hassan Kasim, 48, was jailed four months on Monday for the initial theft while the person who stole from him is still at large.

The unemployed man was walking in his Yishun neighbourhood at about 11.20am on Sept 13 when he heard a bird chirping and noticed a cage hanging outside a flat on the seven floor.

He took the lift up and took the cage and the bird. He then went to the void deck of a nearby block of flats and fell asleep.

When he awoke, the cage and bird were gone.

The bird's owner, Mr Cheah Heng Lee, 62, said he had bathed the bird and left it in the cage along the corridor to air it.

He went into his flat to get some bird feed, and rushed out from the kitchen when he heard the cuckoo flapping its wings vigorously but it was too late for him to see anything.

However, a neighbour told him that he saw a stocky man sporting a ponytail and with tattooed arms in the corridor.

Footage from the lift's surveillance camera showed Hassan going in empty-handed and coming out with the bird and cage.

The cuckoo, which was valued at $1,200, and the $46 cage have not been recovered.

Hassan was also jailed for six months and fined $60,000 for possessing nearly 5.3kg of contraband cigarettes. They were found in his bag on May 30 when he was at a coffee shop in Yishun Ring Road.

In total, he will be jailed for 10 months, plus another three months if he fails to pay the fine. He has previous convictions for theft and Customs offences.

Hassan could have been jailed for up to three years and fined for the theft, as well as fined up to $74,000 for possession of contraband.

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