Marcus Yow Kai Wen had a bad habit.
He would often sneak out in the middle of the night to commit mischief.
But his habit took a disturbing and criminal turn just before his 16th birthday.
Marcus, who was a secondary school student, would look for women who were walking alone, trail them and then move in to attack them.
Even though he is only 16, the lanky teen is already about 1.7m tall.
Twice, he covered his victims' heads with plastic bags. Two other times, he covered his victim's heads with a sweater and his bare hands.
On all four occasions, he struck in Choa Chu Kang, just minutes from where he lives at Street 51.
On May 13 at 3am, the day after Marcus turned 16, the teenager travelled to Choa Chu Kang Loop with a plastic bag "looking for a female to disturb", court papers stated.
After an hour, he spotted a woman walking along the pavement between Northvale Condominium and Warren Condominium.
After stalking her, he moved in and covered the 18-year-old woman's head with a plastic bag and pulled her towards him.
When she put up a struggle, Marcus hugged her waist.
During the struggle, the woman removed the plastic bag and screamed for help. Marcus ran home and threw the plastic bag away.
He was not deterred. Four days later on May 17, he struck again.
This time, he was at the void deck of a HDB block in Choa Chu Kang when he saw a 34-year-old woman talking on her mobile phone at 2.05am.
Hiding behind a pillar, he covered the lower half of his face with his sweater and continued to watch her.
When the woman got up and walked towards the lift lobby, Marcus moved in and covered her eyes with his hands. The woman screamed and kicked backwards, forcing him to release her.
Turning around, she saw his face and screamed again, prompting him to run home.
Of the four charges Marcus faced, two were taken into consideration. They took place on March 20 and April 15, before he turned 16. Both cases involved women aged 22.
Marcus, who was accompanied in court by his parents, was yesterday sentenced to 18 months' probation by a Community Court after pleading guilty to two counts of using criminal force.
His parents put down a $5,000 bond to ensure his good behaviour during probation.
This article was first published on December 23, 2014. Get The New Paper for more stories.