SCDF firefighter jailed after stealing Apple Watch while responding to suspected home fire in Ang Mo Kio

SCDF firefighter steals Apple Watch while responding to fire in Ang Mo Kio

A Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) firefighter was sentenced to jail on Friday (17 May) for stealing a S$332 Apple Watch.

26-year-old Ernest Tay Xiheng had stolen the smartwatch while responding to a case of fire at an Ang Mo Kio flat in 2023.

He was a national serviceman at the time.

The owner of the watch filed a police report days after she realised her timepiece had been stolen.

Firefighter stole Apple Watch from Ang Mo Kio flat

According to the Straits Times (ST), the theft occurred at a flat in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 around 7am on 1 September 2023.

Source: Google Maps

Tay and his team were called to the scene after being alerted of a suspected fire.

The occupants of the flat were evacuated from the premises, however, investigations later revealed there was no fire despite reported smoke.

During the inspection of the premises, Tay stole the Apple Watch which he saw lying on the floor.

Regretted taking Apple Watch

CNA reported that after Tay brought the smartwatch back with him to the fire station and reset it, he took it back to his home after work.

Source: Google Maps

However, he later regretted stealing the watch and feared being investigated by the police.

Tay then tossed the watch onto a grass patch as he rode his motorcycle along the Tampines Expressway.

Woman filed police report for missing smartwatch

On 7 September 2023, the owner of the smartwatch, a 30-year-old woman, discovered that her Apple Watch was missing, according to ST.

After searching high and low, she used an application on her mobile phone to track the location of her watch.

It was then revealed that the smartwatch was last used at the Ang Mo Kio fire station on the day of the reported fire.

Sensing something was wrong, CNA confirmed that the woman filed a police report regarding the missing watch.

Tay was subsequently arrested on 18 October 2023.

SCDF firefighter found guilty of theft

Authorities were unable to recover the watch. However, Tay made full restitution to the victim to cover the item’s value of S$332.

According to CNA, the prosecutor argued that Tay abused his authority as a firefighter, and sought three to four months’ jail.

Tay’s lawyers requested a maximum sentence of two months in jail, saying the firefighter’s actions were a case of “he came, he saw, he stole”.

District Judge Kamala Ponnampalam ultimately sentenced Tay to three months in jail, noting his early admission to guilt.

Tay could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined for theft.

Also read: Man loiters around Bukit Batok HDB corridor before stealing resident’s S$30 slippers

Man loiters around Bukit Batok HDB corridor before stealing resident’s S$30 slippers

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Featured image adapted from Kim Tatiana on Canva, for illustration purposes only, and Google Maps

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