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A 69-year-old man was caught on closed-circuit television (CCTV) taking money from donation boxes in a temple along Arumugam Road, and arrested by the police on Thursday (May 31).
In the footage which was uploaded online, the man is seen using a makeshift contraption — a belt covered with double-sided tape — to 'fish' money out from a donation box at about 2am on May 23.
He returned at about 2.45am on May 27 and took money from two donation boxes using the same method.
According to Shin Min Daily News, the affected temple is the Kim Hong Temple, which has a rich history spanning more than 60 years.
A spokesman for the temple, Mr Dai Yin Min said that he would tabulate the money from the donation boxes every month.
When he last checked the boxes, he found only four pieces of notes and felt that something was amiss.
He immediately checked through the CCTV and discovered that someone had stolen from the boxes last Wednesday (May 23).
Mr Dai said that after scouring through the camera footage, he found out that the man had started taken money from the temple at least four to five times, and the first incident happened before March.
“The three boxes at the temple were all targeted, and we lost thousands in donations.”
Mr Dai lamented that the incident came at an unfortunate time as the land lease is set to expire at the end of the year, and the temple is currently raising funds in an effort to extend the term.
He also revealed that the temple staff had initially intended to lay an ambush and capture the man red-handed.
The police said in an official statement that it had arrested a 69-year-old man for his alleged involvement in a series of theft along Arumugam Road.
It had received a report about a man stealing from donation boxes at about 3pm on May 24.
Officers from the Bedok Police Division managed to establish the identity of the suspect and arrested him along Upper Boon Keng Road on May 30.
During the arrest, a pair of blue slippers, a jacket, black non-sticky tape, a can of contact adhesive, double-sided tape and scissors were also seized.
The suspect was charged in court on Thursday (May 31).
If convicted, he may be jailed for up to three years, fined, or both.