[UPDATE: Oct 16]
A total of seven people, aged between 23 and 54, have been arrested for alleged theft of the Budget 2020 grocery vouchers from HDB letterboxes at different locations in Singapore.
According to the police, preliminary investigations revealed that these theft cases are likely unrelated and opportunistic in nature. The locations targeted included residential blocks in Tampines Street 86, Toa Payoh Lorong 7, Marsiling Road, Telok Blangah Rise and Holland Close.
The first suspect was arrested on Oct 11. Four more were apprehended on Oct 14, and the last two were nabbed yesterday (Oct 15).
The police have also received reports of similar incidents in other residential areas and are ramping up efforts to apprehend the perpetrators.
“If you spot any suspicious people loitering near the letterboxes, please call the police at 999 immediately,” they added.
Several letterboxes in Redhill and Lengkok Bahru were forcibly pried open on Tuesday morning (Oct 13), SingPost said.
While the master doors of all nine letterbox nests were found to be locked and secure, the doors of several individual letterboxes were left ajar and had scratches and dents.
The affected blocks include Blocks 55, 56, 57, 58 and 59 at Lengkok Bahru; Blocks 71 and 72 in Redhill Road and Blocks 89 and 90 in Redhill Close.
SingPost's staff has since secured all the mail within these tampered letterboxes and will personally deliver them to the doorsteps of the affected residents.
The police confirm that a report was lodged and investigations are ongoing.
A police notice has also been put up near the letterboxes, urging residents to notify the police should they come across a suspicious person, reported Lianhe Wanbao.
According to Radin Mas SMC's Facebook page, it is believed that the tampering of the letterboxes is related to the alleged theft of grocery vouchers worth $150 that are being distributed to lower-income households living in one- and two-room flats.
The post also encouraged residents to quickly collect their vouchers and ensure their letterboxes are sealed after.
The first round of grocery voucher distribution started on Oct 1.
Speaking with the Chinese evening daily, a 54-year-old resident said: "We received the vouchers in our letterbox in the past two weeks, but some neighbours haven't received theirs. Did someone break into their letterboxes for the vouchers?"
Woman arrested for allegedly stealing grocery vouchers from letterboxes
A 37-year-old woman was arrested for her suspected involvement in stealing grocery vouchers from letterboxes that do not belong to her, the police said in a news release today (Oct 14).
The police had received a report that the letterboxes at one of the blocks along Toa Payoh Lorong 7 had been tampered with on Sunday (Oct 11). The woman was identified and arrested on the same day.
If convicted of theft, she could face a jail term of three years, or a fine, or both.