Car battery theft lands local behind bars

Fadley Faisal

A local man was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment upon his guilty plea in the Magistrate’s Court yesterday. Pengiran Mohammad Ibnu bin Pengiran Haji Othman, 31, pleaded guilty to theft of car batteries at two different places on December 2019.

On December 21, 2019, at 3pm, an employee of a Lambak Kanan tyre shop attended to the defendant who had gone to get his tyre changed.

The defendant and his friends spoke to the employee while he worked on the tyre. Upon completion, the defendant made payment at the counter and left.

Not long after, another employee found that his mobile phone was missing. The first employee suggested checking the CCTV footage, which showed the defendant stealing a car battery from the shop. A police report was lodged, leading to the defendant’s arrest.

The car battery, valued at BND160, was not recovered.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day (at 12.30pm), an employee working at a Lambak Kanan shop saw a white car parked near a pick-up that was in his possession.

A male and female passenger alighted from the vehicle and went to the shop to weigh and sell aluminium scrap metal.

At the same time, another male who was with them, was looking around. The other male was later identified as the defendant.

The employee paid BND12 for the aluminium scrap metal and the three of them then left the area.

Not long after, when the employee was about to take the metal he had kept on the pick-up vehicle, he discovered that the vehicle’s battery was missing. He went to the company next door to request to view the CCTV footage, which showed the defendant coming out from a white vehicle to extract the car battery.

On December 23, 2019, at 11.30am, the defendant came to the employee, using the same white vehicle to the shop, to enquire about the price for an unused car frame.

The employee asked the defendant about the stolen battery, to which he initially denied. Showing the CCTV footage, the defendant urged the employee not to lodge a police report, promising to return the battery that evening.

The following day, the employee and his supervisor went to the Berakas Police Station to lodge a police report after the defendant failed to honour his promise.

The pick-up’s battery, valued at BND200, was not recovered.

On sentencing the defendant, Magistrate Mohammad Marzuqi bin Sabtu highlighted that “stealing car batteries have certainly caused inconveniences to the owner, and also caused a financial loss to the seller.

On both occasions, the defendant had used the same modus operandi, which is to divert the victims’ attention, and when the victims are off guard, the defendant would proceed with his intention to steal.”

The Magistrate stated that this is not an opportunistic theft, rather, a premeditated theft by the defendant.

Meanwhile another local, Mohamad Alip bin Abdullah, 36, who faced a charge of stealing from a house in Lambak Kanan sometime between January 2 and 3, 2020 pleaded not guilty yesterday and is claiming trial. The case has been adjourned to February 10.