SINGAPORE: While on bail for other offences and preparing to plead guilty to them, a young man stole a bus and a van, driving his friends to a cemetery in the latter.
For his assortment of crimes, Muhammad Iskandar Abdul Razak, 20, was on Monday (May 27) sentenced to reformative training for a year and banned from driving for a year.
Iskandar pleaded guilty to nine charges including voluntarily causing hurt, theft and driving without a licence, with seven other charges taken into consideration.
The court heard that Iskandar had committed a variety of crimes between January and October last year, beginning with assaulting a drunk man in Geylang along with some of his friends, and robbing the victim of his Oppo phone and S$2,300 in cash.
In March last year, two of his friends were spotted by police officers, with one of them holding a truncheon and swinging it around. The truncheon belonged to Iskandar, who later claimed he had found the truncheon nearby and kept it in order to play with it.
He also stole a bicycle secured at a void deck in Haig Road with two friends in May last year by cracking the numbered combination lock.
Iskandar was set to plead guilty to these crimes on Apr 15 this year and was out on bail in the meantime.
However, on Mar 28, Iskandar met up with his friend, 22-year-old Muhammad Rizuwan Abdullah or Wan, and suggested that they look for a bus to steal and go for a joyride, Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Yanying said.
Wan agreed and the pair went to Block 22, Sin Ming Road, where Iskandar found a white Mitsubishi bus belonging to JT Bus Services.
HE BROKE INTO BUS, DROVE FRIENDS AROUND
The owner of the bus had parked the vehicle, which is valued at S$80,000, in the open-air car park there and left the key inside before locking the door via an external button.
Iskandar managed to break into the bus using this button at about 3am and drove with Wan to pick up three friends from Kebun Baru Community Centre.
He then picked up his girlfriend from Tampines and drove the group around the neighbourhood, before dropping his girlfriend off at her home and driving the remaining friends to Ellington Square in Ang Mo Kio at about 6am.
About an hour later, the bus owner realised that his vehicle was missing and made a police report, saying his colleague had seen the bus in Ang Mo Kio.
DROVE FRIENDS TO CEMETERY IN STOLEN VAN
On Apr 8, a few days after Iskandar stole the bus, he met up with his group of friends again in Ang Mo Kio and said he would find another vehicle for a joyride.
Accompanied by Wan, Iskandar went to 5 Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 2A, where a white Toyota van was parked. The owner had locked the van using a remote control and the key was in the driver's door compartment.
Iskandar broke into the van past midnight on Apr 9 and drove it along with Wan to where their other five friends were waiting. To make room for his friends, he threw some sanitary bins that had been inside the van out along the road.
First, Iskandar drove his friends to Ho Ching Road to pick up his ex-girlfriend before going to Pusara Aman Cemetery in Jalan Bahar.
After this, Iskandar drove back to Ho Ching Road to drop his ex-girlfriend off. However, while on the way there, he saw a police vehicle and stopped the van, asking his friends to alight and cover their faces.
After the police vehicle left the scene, the group returned to the van and proceeded to Ho Ching Road where Iskandar's ex-girlfriend alighted.
The rest of them alighted in Ang Mo Kio and Iskandar stole a pouch from the van containing S$90 in cash, a cash card with S$20 in value, as well as work permits and driving licences before parking it nearby.
He took his friends out for another joyride in the van later that night at about 11pm, driving them to the cemetery again before going to Marina Bay and East Coast Park.
Police officers found the van at Block 260B Ang Mo Kio Street 21 on Apr 11 after the van owner filed a police report. Iskandar was remanded four days later.
Reformative training is a harsher punishment than probation, and is given to offenders younger than 21, detaining them in a structured environment with an emphasis on rehabilitation.