An Indian-origin man in Singapore has allegedly robbed a petrol station employee at knife point, the first such incident in a decade, police said on Wednesday.
Visvanathan Vaduvelu, 48, fled with 1,193 Singapore dollars (USD 877) in cash from the Shell petrol station situated at 219 Upper Bukit Timah Road on Monday, police said. He threatened an employee with a kitchen knife and ordered her to place money from the cash register in a plastic bag, they said.
Police said that the incident, which took place in broad daylight, was the first such case in 10 years. Vaduvelu, who has been charged with committing armed robbery, faces a maximum of 10 years in jail and at least 12 strokes of caning if found guilty, reported Channel News Asia. Police were alerted at around 12.50 PM after the suspect fled the petrol station on a scooter.
He was tailed by a customer of the petrol station for a short distance, before the customer also informed the police. Even though the suspect was wearing a motorcycle helmet during the robbery, the robbed Shell employee — a 22-year-old woman — remembered the colour of his clothes.
Vaduvelu was arrested on the same day of the robbery at about 4.50 PM along Jurong East Street 21. About 500 dollar in cash, some bank receipts and a scooter were seized by the police. These, along with his outfit -– a black T-shirt, a pair of long black pants, a beige jacket, a motorcycle helmet and a pair of sunglasses -– were also collected as evidence. However, the weapon — a kitchen knife — was not recovered as the suspect dropped it as he was fleeing the crime scene, the police said.
He was remanded without bail, and his next hearing will be held next week. This was the first of two armed robberies in Singapore in as many days.
On Tuesday morning, another armed robbery took place at a Western Union branch in Ubi estate, according to the Channel. The suspect, who took more than 2,000 dollar from Western Union employee at knife point, fled on foot. He was still at large, according to media reports.