In a shocking turn of events, Tay Jun Jie, a 33-year-old Singaporean, has been sentenced to five years in jail after committing a series of crimes, including arson and theft. The reign of terror left behind a trail of destruction, with significant financial losses and the evacuation of residents.
Arson at a Licensed Moneylender
According to TODAY, Tay’s criminal activities escalated on May 22, 2023, when, out on court bail, he broke into a licensed moneylender, IP Credit. Intent on covering his tracks after stealing S$16,700, Tay set the premises on fire. His attempt to mislead investigators by creating the impression of a power trip resulted in major damage to IP Credit’s structure, causing a staggering S$95,807.35 in losses.
Spree of Break-ins at Courts
Prior to the arson incident, Tay had been on a spree of break-ins at Courts, a prominent electronics and furniture retailer. Between October and November 12, 2022, he entered the store after hours using various techniques, stealing items totaling S$69,849.40. The stolen goods, including Samsung Galaxy and Apple watches, JBL speakers, and gaming consoles, were later sold to exporters in Singapore and Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
Modus Operandi Revealed
Tay’s method of breaking into Courts involved manipulating the sliding glass doors with his fingers and using an Allen key to unlock another glass door. The repeated incidents went undetected until the store manager noticed missing items and reviewed CCTV footage, ultimately leading to Tay’s arrest on Nov 14, 2022.
The Legal Consequences
Tay pleaded guilty to charges of housebreaking and committing mischief by fire. Due to a prior conviction for house-trespass or housebreaking by night in 2015, he was also sentenced to two strokes of the cane. Additional charges were considered during the sentencing, emphasizing the severity of his actions.
Community Impact and Evacuation
The consequences of Tay’s arson extended beyond property damage. The thick white smoke from the fire prompted the evacuation of 12 people from a four-storey public housing block. The incident caused public commotion and heightened concerns about the safety and security of residents in the vicinity.