SINGAPORE: After meeting a woman on the dating platform Tinder, a man secretly duplicated her keys and later used them to break into her house and steal S$40,000 worth of cash and jewellery.
When the woman, who is now his ex-girlfriend, changed her locks, the man forged a police report and tricked a locksmith into opening the door for him.
Filipino Moreno Nino Jusner Jashua Taguibao, 27, was given 22 months' jail on Tuesday (Aug 3) for his crimes.
He pleaded guilty to one count each of housebreaking to commit theft and forgery, with another two charges taken into consideration.
The court heard that Moreno met the victim, now 23, in 2015 on Tinder. They dated for a few years, and Moreno moved into the victim's home in 2018. The victim gave him a set of keys to her unit, but he secretly duplicated a set without telling her.
In September 2019, the couple broke up. Moreno returned the victim her set of keys, but kept the set he had duplicated for himself.
Moreno began borrowing money since January 2020 from a licensed moneylender. He was unable to make his loan payments, and began breaking into his ex-girlfriend's home to steal cash and jewellery.
He did so on nine occasions between February 2020 and January 2021, stealing S$12,500 in cash and multiple pieces of jewellery that he pawned off for a total of S$27,746. In total, he stole S$40,246 worth of items from his ex-girlfriend.
In March 2021, Moreno suspected that his ex-girlfriend may have changed the locks to her unit. He took a screenshot of a police report and used editing software to change his address, reflecting his ex-girlfriend's address instead.
He went to the victim's unit on Mar 18, 2021, and saw that the locks had been changed. He then contacted a locksmith, showed him the forged police report to prove that he stayed there, and deceived the locksmith into dismantling the padlock on the metal gate.
He also got the locksmith to pick the door lock, before paying him.
The victim called the police from her office, saying her neighbour had filmed Moreno getting a locksmith to open her door. Moreno was arrested by the police.
PILFERED UNREPENTANTLY: PROSECUTOR
Deputy Public Prosecutor V Jesudevan asked for 24 months' jail for the housebreaking offence and one month's jail for the forgery. He said the offences were committed repeatedly, "almost on a serial nature".
He said Moreno went to the unit on nine occasions and "almost pilfered unrepentantly".
He said Moreno was even prepared to resort to forgery and has not made any restitution.
Moreno, who had no lawyer, said he went to the house multiple times because he wanted to return the money.
"Those times were a bit tough, because my mum is a single mum and my dad just left for the Philippines and he left her with a huge amount of debt in the bank, so I was just helping her to get by every month," he said.
"It's not something that would cover my crime but that was the reason why there were multiple times when I went there and it was during the dark times when I want to return the money, but my mom is still in a huge debt with the bank. This is not me."
He said he was waiting for "this whole ordeal" to be over so he could repay his ex-girlfriend, saying that his past relationship with her was "actually a fruitful one" and he was "really close with part of her family".
The judge allowed him to begin his jail term on Sep 6.