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Man jailed for stealing S$2,300 from orange juice vending machines after he was fired

Man jailed for stealing S$2,300 from orange juice vending machines after he was fired

Lee Zhi Hao stole cash from eight vending machines in a single day. (Photo: Facebook/IJOOZ - Fruits Vending)

SINGAPORE: After he was fired from his job at a company operating orange juice vending machines, a man stole more than S$2,300 from eight of the machines.

Lee Zhi Hao, a 28-year-old Malaysian, was sentenced to nine weeks' jail on Monday (Apr 8) for his crimes.

He had worked as a driver for Fruits Vending, which runs iJooz vending machines, for about a month from November last year.

As part of his duties, he had to top up oranges in the vending machines, clean the machines and collect income from the vending machines' sales, State Prosecutor Lam Peng Choy told the court.

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However, Lee performed poorly in his role and his contract was terminated on Dec 13. While he was packing his belongings at the company's hostel, he found a key that could be used to unlock the company's vending machines.

He kept the key, intending to steal cash from the machines, as he was in debt due to his gambling habit.

Lee stole amounts ranging from S$97 to S$644 from eight vending machines at places including Fortune Centre, Sunshine Plaza and Parklane Mall in a single day on Feb 24.

An accountant at the company discovered that there was S$644 missing from a vending machine at Fortune Centre a day later.

The company's operations manager looked at closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage and discovered that more money had gone missing from eight vending machines in total, with S$2,354 stolen.

A man in a black cap and a mask, which the manager recognised as Lee, could be seen in CCTV footage unlocking the vending machines and stealing the money.

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Lee used the money to pay off his debts and did not make any restitution to the company, the court heard.

He pleaded guilty on Monday to three charges of theft, with another five charges taken into consideration for sentencing.

The prosecutor told the court that the crimes had been premeditated, with Lee preparing a change of clothes and masking his identity.

Lee, who was unrepresented, asked the judge for a chance to turn over a new leaf and pleaded for leniency.

For each count of theft, he could have been jailed for up to three years, fined or both.

Source: CNA/ll(cy)

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