SINGAPORE - He was first caught shoplifting from a Bishan supermarket and was detained by a security guard and supermarket staff.
But instead of learning his lesson, David Low Fuh Shim, 48, continued on his thieving spree at least three more times, stealing around $3,300 of electronics and groceries in total.
These included two handbags, an Apple iPad and several mobile smartphones.
The serial thief was finally put behind bars for 14 months for a string of theft cases between October last year and February this year.
Low, who is unemployed, pleaded guilty to five counts of shop theft, snatch theft and fraudulent possession yesterday.
Another six charges of theft and one charge of causing hurt to a security guard was taken into consideration.
On Oct 6 last year, Low placed several unpaid items into a plastic bag at a FairPrice at Bishan Street 13. This was spotted by a security guard from another store, who asked Low to follow him back to his office.
But Low bolted from the supermarket, with the guard giving chase. He was caught and detained by the guard and a FairPrice staff.
He was found to have taken around $110 worth of items.
On Jan 30 this year, Low had spotted his next victim while cycling around Bukit Panjang.
At a lift lobby, he suddenly grabbed a mobile phone belonging to his victim, an Indonesian maid, and fled.
The maid screamed and gave chase as he ran to his bicycle parked behind a staircase landing to ride away. She managed to grab his jacket and a scuffle between the two occurred.
Low kicked her in the stomach, but the maid continued to hold onto his jacket, causing Low to fall from the bicycle.
He let go of her mobile phone and left his jacket behind as he made his escape.
On Feb 19, Low hit his next victim, an Indonesian, with his bicycle and successfully wrenched her mobile phone from her hands.
He was finally stopped when he was caught by the police on Feb 25, after he tried to grab a handbag with items totalling around $350.
His final victim, a Singaporean female, was eating at a Jurong foodcourt when Low grabbed her handbag and tried to flee.
This time, his victim gave chase while shouting "robbery" in Mandarin.
Low flung her handbag away to stop her from chasing him, but the commotion attracted two passers-by, who caught him and called the police.
A police raid on his Segar Road home revealed another mobile phone, which was suspected of being stolen.
Low said in mitigation that he had financial difficulties and was under medication for his schizophrenia.
He could have been jailed a maximum of seven years, with caning, for snatch theft.
The maximum penalty for shop theft is seven years' jail with a fine
This article was published on May 6 in The New Paper.
Get The New Paper for more stories.