Harmudin Bahar, 54, stole from the Masjid Al-Iman mosque 12 times in three weeks and made away with $1,900 using a simple home-made device – a clothes hanger and sticky tape so he fish cash our of the donation box.

He was jailed for 4 ½ years after pleading guilty to four out of 12 charges of housebreaking. He was also given an additional eight weeks’ jail in lieu of caning. Harmudin, was previously jailed for housebreaking in 1987 and 2011.

A district court heard that Harmudin and an accomplice, Azhar Musa, 48, would go to the mosque at 10 Bukit Panjang Ring Road between 1am and 3am.

Harmudin entered via the rear gate, while Azhar kept a lookout outside the mosque. If Azhar saw anyone else entering the mosque, he would call Harmudin on his mobile phone. Azhar received between $40 to $65 each time for helping Harmudin.

On April 1, at about 1am, Harmudin climbed through the window of an office to take an envelope containing $200 in cash, and a petty box containing two keys and 30 booklets of stamps valued at $45 in total. An employee of the mosque made a police report after discovering the items missing.

Harmudin and Azhar went back to the mosque again on April 3, 4 and 6. Each time, the duo stole about $160. Harmudin was arrested on April 7.

The punishment for housebreaking at night in order to commit theft is between two and 14 years’ jail. Repeat offenders below age 50 are also liable to caning.

Azhar’s case is pending.

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