A Singaporean security guard of Indian origin has been sentenced to three weeks in prison for pocketing a luxury brand wallet. According to reports, A Murugaiya, 56, pleaded guilty to one count of criminal breach of trust by dishonest misappropriation.
Last year, on August 27, a 46-year-old man, dropped his wallet and keys at the entrance of The Alcove Condominium, where he lived. The court heard that a passer-by picked up the black Louis Vuitton wallet valued at S$1,800 containing S$500 (US$376) and handed it to Murugaiya, who was at the security desk of the condominium.
However, instead of returning it to the rightful owner, Murugaiya kept the wallet and money and took them home with him. The next day, the victim discovered the lost wallet but the money was missing. So he informed Murugaiya and his supervisor about his lost wallet.
Eventually, Murugaiya admitted to taking the wallet and signed a statement indicating that the wallet was with him. Though the victim was returned his keys on Aug 29, 2023, the remaining money was not recovered. Murugaiya did not make any restitution.
Following this, the victim filed a police complaint, leading to Murugaiya's arrest in December 2023.
During the hearing, the prosecutor sought at least four weeks' jail, noting Murugaiya's lack of past convictions. However, she said there was a "high quality and degree of trust" placed in Murugaiya, who was a security officer tasked with ensuring the safety of the premises, property and of the condo residents.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Ashley Poh said, "As such, any resident of the condominium who returns a lost item to the accused would have a high degree of trust in the accused that the item would be safely returned to the rightful owner" . She added that the wallet was returned only after the victim spoke with Murugaiya and his supervisor.
The prosecutor added, "The total value of the item misappropriated in the first place, before the accused was confronted, amounted to at least S$2,300 in value."
Murugaiya could have been jailed for up to seven years, fined, or both for criminal breach of trust by dishonest misappropriation.