Man who wore wife's dress and brandished knife at minimart cashier had also stolen from sister-in-law

Nadine Chua
The Straits Times
Apr 23, 2024

A man who wore his wife’s dress and brandished a knife at a 74-year-old cashier while attempting to rob a minimart was sentenced on April 23.

Mahmoud Abdeltawwab Riad Abdelhak, 39, who pleaded guilty to an attempted robbery charge and a theft charge, was sentenced to two years and six months in jail and six strokes of the cane.

On July 15, 2023, around 1.20am, Mahmoud, an Egyptian and a Singapore permanent resident, entered a 24-hour store in Toa Payoh wearing his wife’s black dress, her headscarf, two grey arm sleeves and a black mask.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Huo Jiongrui said the offender had intended to rob the store without being identified and was armed with a kitchen knife he brought from home.

As the cashier was seated at the counter reading a newspaper, Mahmoud walked behind her, brandished the knife near her face and told her not to shout.

Shocked, the cashier turned around and, upon seeing him, she screamed. The DPP said Mahmoud was startled by her screams and fled the scene.

To evade detection, he threw his wife’s clothes and the kitchen knife into two rubbish bins that were about 200m apart, the prosecution said.

He was arrested the same day and his wife’s clothes were found in the rubbish bins.

As to the theft charge, Mahmoud stole two rings in November 2022 from his sister-in-law, who was living with him and his wife at the time.

His sister-in-law shared a bedroom with her husband in the flat, and kept the door to the room locked when they were out.

But Mahmoud used a spare key to access the room and stole her engagement ring valued at $1,300 and wedding ring worth $1,899. He pawned both rings for a total of $247.

When his sister-in-law realised her rings were missing, she suspected that Mahmoud had a spare key to the room.

She installed a CCTV camera with a built-in speaker in the bedroom without him knowing.

When he entered the room again and rummaged through their belongings, his sister-in-law, who had been watching him on the camera’s live feed on her mobile phone, asked what he was doing through the speaker.

He immediately left the bedroom. His sister-in-law subsequently lodged a police report.

Seeking 31 to 35 months’ jail and six strokes of the cane, DPP Huo said that in relation to the attempted robbery offence, Mahmoud showed little remorse. “During investigations, he blatantly lied that he was out for a jog at the time of the offence despite the evidence against him.” The offence was premeditated, as Mahmoud took pains to dress up in his wife’s clothing to avoid being identified.

Those convicted of attempted robbery may face a jail term of between two and seven years and at least six strokes of the cane.

The Straits Times

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