SINGAPORE: A foreign domestic worker who stole her employer's S$6,000 Chanel bag to use on her days off was sentenced to six months' jail on Thursday (Oct 24).
Onita, a 28-year-old Indonesian national, pleaded guilty to two charges of theft by servant, with another two charges taken into consideration.
The court heard that Onita worked for her 40-year-old employer at her home, whose location was redacted from court documents.
While cleaning the victim's room in February this year, she saw a pink Chanel bag valued at S$6,000 on a shelf in her employer's walk-in wardrobe, along with other branded bags.
Onita decided to steal it, taking the pink bag and keeping it in her room. She later used it during her outings on her days off work, said State Prosecuting Officer Mohd Nasri Haron.
A few months later in May, Onita was cleaning the room again when she saw a black Chanel bag valued at S$8,500 in a dust cover in the walk-in wardrobe.
She took this bag and replaced it with the pink bag she had earlier stolen in the dust cover, before keeping the pricier black bag in her room.
EMPLOYER FINDS FACEBOOK PHOTO
On Aug 16, the maid's employer realised that her new black Chanel bag was missing.
When she checked the dust cover it was supposed to be in, she found the pink Chanel bag instead. Together with Onita, the woman searched for the black bag, but could not find it.
"In her desperation, the victim said that she would report the matter to the police," said the prosecutor.
Onita panicked and took the black bag from her room, before telling her employer that she had taken it from her walk-in wardrobe a few months earlier.
She also admitted to replacing the black bag with the pink bag.
The maid's employer scrolled through Onita's Facebook page a few days later on Aug 24 and saw Onita had the pink bag slung over her shoulder, in a photo dated Feb 18, 2019.
She recognised the bag and lodged a police report later that night.
The maid had also stolen cash of S$800 and a S$1,000 Louis Vuitton wallet from her employer.
The prosecutor asked for a term of between six months and eight months' jail, but noted that the maid said she would return the pink bag after using it on her off days.
"We do not condone her actions, but this still must be distinguished from other offenders who do not return the items," he said.
The judge said that while this may be true, the motive behind placing the pink bag into the dust cover was "a big question mark", and could have been done to prevent the owner from realising it was stolen.
"The offence of theft had taken place the minute she removed the pink bag and black bag," said the judge.
The maid, who was unrepresented, told the court through an interpreter that she pleaded for leniency.
The judge ordered her sentence to be backdated from her date of remand, and for the recovered items to be released to their owner.
For each charge of theft by servant, Onita could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined.