Yesterday, it was revealed in the news that a 36-year-old man had confessed to looting over S$1,000 worth of goods from a Toys “R” Us store. The reason? It was all for his kids, apparently.
According to Channel NewsAsia, Kwok Woei Jie was unemployed at the time of the theft, which took place at two different outlets over three days this January. The toys he nicked included a Nerf toy gun, Monopoly Cash Grab sets, a Porsche 911 Lego set that cost S$279.99, and a S$529.99 Gundam Astray Red Frame Kai.
Kwok’s first theft occurred on Jan 9 this year at Waterway Point in Punggol, followed by another try on Jan 21, when he was nabbed by the store manager, who kept tabs on his movements in the shop. After taking back the three items Kwok stole, the manager recognized him from previous visits and discovered on closed-circuit television footage Kwok’s prior attempt a couple weeks ago.
However, that wasn’t enough to deter the man. A mere four days later, he hit up the toy store at City Square Mall and shoplifted four toys worth a total of S$100, stuffing them in his pockets while he paid for two drinks. Unfortunately for Kwok, the store manager thought he looked familiar and stopped him from leaving once she uncovered news of his arrest at Punggol.
Kwok was unrepresented in court yesterday, and maintained that he had swiped the toys for his two children, who are in Primary 1 and Primary 3. He explained he did not have a job when he stole from Toys “R” Us, though he now works as a midnight deliveryman. Admitting to his crime, he insisted that he was not scheming to sell the toys for money.
Kwok will return to court for mitigation and sentencing on Friday. He pleaded guilty yesterday to three charges of theft, with a fourth charge taken into consideration, and can be jailed up to seven years and fined for each count of theft in dwelling.
In the online sphere, netizens sympathized with the father’s desperate act, though acknowledging his motives did not condone the crime. Meanwhile, others questioned his intentions in buying such expensive toys that seemed to be more for adults than kids.
But at the end of the day, a crime is still a crime.
Truer words were never said.