Movie-inspired teen gets 33 month’s probation for robbing 7-Eleven

SINGAPORE (CNA) – A teenager who robbed a 7-Eleven store, as he felt hungry and wanted to mimic movie scenes, was sentenced to two years and nine months’ probation yesterday.

Jacob Seow, now 19, has to undergo a violence prevention programme and perform 150 hours of community service. He had pleaded guilty last month to one charge of robbery, which had been reduced from armed robbery.

Seow had taken a fruit knife from his kitchen and gone to a 7-Eleven outlet on August 3 last year. He placed a chocolate bar on the cashier’s counter before pointing his knife at the 21-year-old store assistant and demanded money and cigarettes.

After the victim said he could not open the cash register, Seow took six packets of cigarettes and a Cheesy Chicken burger from the fridge.

He strangled the victim with both hands as he wanted to make him faint and delay him from calling the police.

“Fearing that passers-by would enter the store, the accused stopped strangling the victim. Instead, he thanked the victim for allowing him to steal the cigarettes and left the store,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Sean Teh.

He changed into a set of clothes that he had brought with him, before heading to a basketball court where he ate the burger.

A police report was made after the robbery. Seow had wanted to rob a second store, but changed his mind as he did not have more clothes to change into, the court heard.

Defence lawyer Ashwin Ganapathy had asked for probation for Seow and the prosecution did not object.

The defence lawyer said his client was young and that this was his first brush with the law.

He said Seow’s reason for the offence was that he had seen movies involving robberies and felt the sudden urge to mimic them.

“When probed further as to why our client wanted to mimic the robbery scenes he had seen on the television, our client merely kept silent and periodically asserted that he was wrong and ‘evil’ to do such a thing,” said the defence counsel.

Seow’s mother and her partner furnished a bond of SGD5,000 to ensure his good behaviour.

For robbery by night, he could have been jailed between three and 14 years and given at least 12 strokes of the cane.