In a daring heist on July 16, 2023, three Chinese nationals executed a meticulously planned theft in an Orchard Road pawnshop, slipping away with a 3.01-carat diamond ring valued at nearly $132,500.
One of the thieves, 49-year-old Lu Jingnan, was sentenced on 16 November to 2 years and 8 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to a charge of theft, according to The Straits Times.
The trio of men from China, identified as 49-year-old Lu Jingnan, 59-year-old He Yuanlin, and 50-year-old Luo Yi, arrived in Singapore on separate flights on July 11, 2023. Five days later, they targeted a Valuemax outlet at Lucky Plaza shopping centre, strategically arriving around 6 pm.
Lu entered the shop first, followed by Luo a minute later. Interestingly, the third member observed from outside, maintaining a discreet presence. Lu, posing as a potential buyer, expressed interest in diamond rings with a budget exceeding $50,000.
While Lu engaged a store executive in selecting the 3.01-carat diamond ring, Luo strategically diverted the attention of a male employee, inquiring about gold jewelry in a separate section of the shop. This diversion created a crucial window for Lu to execute the theft.
As the store executive struggled to find a suitable ring casing for the larger diamond, Lu enquired about a smaller one. Seizing this distraction, Lu discreetly pocketed the 3.01-carat diamond ring. The duo then exited the pawnshop, with He leaving the vicinity soon after.
Escape to Malaysia
Following the successful theft, Lu and He boarded a bus to Malaysia, while Luo opted for a flight from Changi Airport to an undisclosed location.
The heist took an unexpected turn when Lu and He were arrested at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on July 19. Lu, facing a theft charge, pleaded guilty and received a sentence of two years and eight months in jail. The outcomes of He and Luo’s cases remain undisclosed.
Deputy Public Prosecutor James Chew emphasized the high degree of premeditation and sophistication involved in the heist. The court documents revealed that the entire scheme was carefully planned, with each member executing a specific role.