Her seven-year-old daughter refused at first, but after the woman egged her on, the girl did as instructed and stole a black handbag belonging to a shopkeeper.
On Friday (Dec 21), the 31-year-old woman was jailed for 17 months after she admitted to eight counts of offences, which include abetting her daughter to steal, other theft charges, and drug-related charges.
The woman cannot be named to protect her daughter’s identity.
The court heard that the woman was with her daughter at Lucky Plaza on Sept 16 last year. She went into the shop, which is located at the basement, to inquire about some items.
While the woman was speaking to the shopkeeper, her daughter slipped in, took the black handbag and left the store. The mother then left a while later.
In total, the items in the bag, which included cash and keys, were worth more than S$450.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Desmond Chong told the court that the woman had instructed her daughter to steal the bag.
The girl refused initially, but her mother “actively encouraged” her.
This was not the only instance she had stolen from strangers.
On the same day her daughter stole from the Lucky Plaza shopkeeper, the woman was at the Plaza Singapura branch of Mothercare when she noticed a mobile phone inside a woman’s handbag.
When the owner of the bag was not looking, she reached into the handbag — which was hung behind a baby pram — and made off with the phone, a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 valued at S$800.
She also stole from a photo studio shopkeeper in Jurong in November last year. The court heard that on the evening of Nov 11, she was with her daughter at Boon Lay Shopping Centre when the girl complained that she was hungry.
“(She) did not have any money to purchase any food as she was facing financial issues,” DPP Chong said.
She walked by Didi Meimei Photo Studio and saw that the shop was unattended. Entering the shop, she saw a pink wallet and stole it.
The wallet contained around S$400 in cash and an ATM card. She took the cash and threw the other contents away.
On Sept 5 last year, the woman stole an Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation debit card and used it to purchase a watch valued at S$109.
She was arrested on Nov 4 this year. Most of the stolen loot has not been recovered, the court was told.
The woman also faces charges for consuming methamphetamine, a controlled drug, as well as for failing to present herself for urine tests.
She consumed the drug while she was out on bail for her earlier offences, said DPP Chong.
The prosecutor added that the woman has had past brushes with the law, including theft and cheating charges.
In mitigation, defence lawyer Dhanwant Singh said his client “deeply regretted” her actions. During the time of her offences, “she was unemployed… and facing financial difficulties”, he said.
The woman, who is pregnant, has another nine-month-old son, he added.
District Judge Terence Tay allowed the woman to defer her sentence to Jan 21 next year for her to settle her family issues.