An Act Of Desperation
Thieves are often held in contempt by society — especially when we don’t know the reason why they did it.
But the story of copper thief Muhammad Resat Ahmad has instead touched the hearts of Singaporeans so much so that a crowdfunding campaign has been started to raise funds for his family.
Mr Resat, 64, pleaded guilty on Tuesday (March 7) to stealing earth cables from Golden Landmark Shopping Centre in 2004 and 2006 and selling the copper within to a metal-scrap shop.
In 2003, Mr Resat’s wife was diagnosed with endometrial cancer.
At the time, his meagre monthly salary of $1,210 was grossly insufficient to fund his wife’s chemotherapy treatment. On top of that, he still had to provide for his two kids who were schooling.
Mr Resat worked as a technician in Golden Landmark Shopping Centre for 23 years and had access to the electrical service and riser rooms.
Between February and April 2004, and between July and September 2006, he and a colleague collaborated to cut the wires in the ceiling with a saw.
They managed to pocket about $6,000 from the sale of the copper, and split it evenly.
According to Today, Mr Resat’s offence was brought to light in 2016 when engineers hired by Far East Organisation, the building’s landlord, alerted the police after they noticed that earth cables, transformers and switch cables were missing.
He lost his job after the arrest.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Chew Xin Ying has called for a sentence of three to four months, while Mr Resat’s defence lawyer Ashwin Ganapathy pleaded for a sentence of less than three weeks in light of his pitiful situation.
Here’s what Mr Ganapathy said, according to Today:
“While (Resat) knew what he was doing was contrary to the law, he could not let his wife’s condition deteriorate.”
It remains to be seen whether Mr Resat’s reasons for theft will be a mitigating factor in his sentencing on April 7. It was reported that he has not been sentenced yet not because these mitigating factors, but because there is disagreement over the “function and costs of the wires”.
Pity For His Plight
Seemingly touched by Mr Resat’s plight, Facebook user Benedict MrMarksman took it upon himself to start a crowdfunding campaign to help alleviate Mr Reset’s financial issues.
If you’d like to contribute, you can visit the site here.
Netizens Lend Support
It seems that far from slamming him, netizens were also quick to voice their support for Mr Resat.
Most took pity on his situation and offered words of comfort, while calling for a lenient sentence.
Some pointed out how the life of a technician in Singapore isn’t a bed of roses.
One user even meticulously calculated how severely underpaid Mr Resat was.
In Singapore where cost of living is so high, is it even possible to provide for a family with such a paltry salary?
One was quick to point out that Mr Resat deserved more leniency for his crime than others who were shown leniency for their crimes, bringing to mind a certain MMA instructor who sexually assaulted underaged girls.
Alas, not everyone was sympathetic, with one user being particularly callous.
While we do not condone Mr Resat’s crime, we are able to understand why he’d chosen to do so.
He committed the crime for his wife and family and it pains many to see him in such a predicament now.
His case serves to remind us that behind every such crime may a story of desperation. After all, many don’t turn to a life of crime if they aren’t desperate in some way.
We sincerely hope our justice system fully looks into his plight and be merciful when meting out his sentence.