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Woman gets jail for stealing milk powder, says she was acting on motherly instinct

CNA – A woman went on a theft spree at three malls in a day in Singapore, stealing 15 tins of milk powder, cosmetics and Lego toys.

Indonesian national Cynthia, who goes by a single name, was sentenced to three weeks’ jail yesterday.

She pleaded guilty to two counts of stealing milk powder. Another two counts of stealing cosmetics and toys were taken into consideration.

Cynthia told the court she stole the milk powder out of “motherly instinct” and that she wanted to “help my baby’s hunger”.

The court heard that the 30-year-old woman was in Singapore on a 30-day social visit pass at the time of the offences.

On May 28, she went to four malls between 10.30am and 3.45pm to steal the items.

She first stole two Lego Star Wars model toys from Toys R Us at Tampines Mall, before filching 11 cans of milk powder from the super-market there.

Milk powder tins on display at a supermarket. PHOTO: CNA

Cynthia then went to Sephora at Bugis+ where she stole cosmetics, including two face palettes, liquid blush and a bottle of toner serum.

She then stole another four cans of milk powder from the Cold Storage supermarket at Raffles City.

Cynthia was detained by the loss prevention officer at Cold Storage, who called the police.

The stolen items were recovered from the woman and she was later arrested and remanded.

In mitigation, Cynthia told the court she did not know her “actions on her motherly instinct would bring her to this pitiful stage”.

She said she has three children – twins aged seven and an eight-month-old baby – whom she adopted. She also has an elderly mother who suffered a stroke during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was only trying to help my baby’s hunger,” said Cynthia. She begged for a “very short sentence” so she could reunite with her children and mother, saying she was the eldest child in her family and the sole breadwinner

On the judge’s questioning, she said she previously freelanced in Indonesia selling items on Facebook or online, and worked part-time at a shop.

The judge noted her mitigation but said Cynthia had stolen from no fewer than four stores in three malls on the same day. This is highly suggestive of the fact that she was emboldened after she was not caught, said the judge.

She told Cynthia that she could be released “very soon” due to the backdating of her jail term.

“Thank you so much,” replied the woman.

For theft in dwelling, she could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined.