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Over three years’ jail for thieving spree

Fadley Faisal

A local man was sentenced to three years and six months’ jail with two canings yesterday for a thieving spree targetting mosques around the country.

Sitting in the Tutong court house, Intermediate Court Judge Pengiran Masni binti Pengiran Haji Bahar handed the sentence to Muhammad Shahriman bin Rahman, 36, after he pleaded guilty to five charges for theft from places of worship.

Judge Pengiran Masni arrived at her decision following the sentencing guidelines that took into account the offences were committed on five occasions, thus warranting a consecutive total.

However, the court calculated the sentences in its totality principles and reached the sentence by reflecting on the defendant’s guilty plea and clean records.

The judge highlighted the aggravating factors of the case involving five mosques, items of value to the mosques for their function and his modus operandi.

Prosecutor Sabrina binti Haji Mahmud earlier sought a deterrent sentence, pressing on the seriousness of the offences.

The defendant was aided by an accomplice in most instances.

The prosecution revealed in court that the defendant first struck Kampong Keriam Mosque in Tutong District alone on September 18, 2020.

He entered the mosque after having driven there, went to the female prayer hall and stole an infrared thermometer.

The bilal realised the thermometer had gone missing and lodged a police report leading to the defendant’s arrest, with the aid of CCTV.

At 6pm on May 29, 2021, the defendant and an accomplice drove home in Kampong Bukit Udal, Tutong District but stopped over at a mosque to get some drinking water.

The defendant entered the mosque and called for his friend to help carry an amplifier to the car.

They then fled the scene. At dusk, a bilal realised that the amplifier had gone missing, filed a report and led to the defendant’s arrest with the aid of CCTV.

Sometime on February 9 and 10, the defendant and an accomplice visited Kampong Danau Mosque in Tutong District.

The accomplice was getting donated drinking water when the defendant came across a microphone with a stand in the vicinity.

The friend said it was valuable prompting the defendant to signal him to steal it.

They took the item and left.

A mosque Takmir committee member realised the item had gone missing and lodged a police report leading to the defendant’s arrest.

On February 28, the defendant and his friend were driving around Kampong Lamunin when they came across Kampong Menengah Mosque in Tutong District.

They entered the mosque realising it was quiet and doors were unlocked.

The friend signalled to the defendant to take a speaker, which he did and they both fled the scene.

A bilal of the mosque discovered that the speaker had gone missing and lodged a police report leading to the defendant’s arrest.

The defendant then went on to target Kampong Labi Mosque, Belait District on the afternoon of March 6.

The defendant went there with his friend by car and entered the mosque. Realising it was empty, they stole vacuum cleaners, a water purifier, a standing thermometer and an extension cord.

A bilal of the mosque later realised that there was no electricity and the door was open.

He found that the electricity had been shut down from the power box and lodged a police report.

With the aid of CCTV footage, police investigations led to the defendant’s arrest.

Co-accused 51-year-old Zaid bin Haji Edin earlier pleaded guilty to one of the charges but denied the rest.

The court deferred handing sentence to him for the charge until the trial for the other charges concludes.