Singapore – A former part-time valet was sentenced to seven weeks in jail for stealing a Hublot watch worth S$15,000 from a drunk client. The accused’s father then flew to London, (where it was sold) in order to buy back the watch and return it to the owner.
On Thursday (Jan 28), 31-year-old Maheson Pillai Paneerselvam pleaded guilty to one charge of theft of a Hublot King Power Red Devil Manchester United watch from his client’s car floor, reported channelnewsasia.com.
Mr Maheson worked as an airline steward and was a part-time valet driver during the time of the offence, the court heard.
On Oct 11, 2019, at about 12:30 am, the victim parked his car along Spottiswoode Park Road, leaving his watch at the gear area, before heading to a nearby pub for drinks. Too drunk to drive home, the victim called for a valet service at about 2 am for him and his friend.
Mr Maheson booked the request and saw the victim’s watch on the floor mat of the driver’s seat upon entering the vehicle. When he completed the trip and dropped off the client at his home, Mr Maheson pocketed the watch before receiving his pay.
He then sold the watch to a secondhand shop in London for £4,000 and exchanged the amount to S$6,600.
A police report was made the following morning when the victim discovered his watch was missing. The victim acquired Mr Maheson’s particulars from the valet service company, which led to his arrest on Oct 30, 2019.
Mr Maheson confessed he had stolen the watch after which his father travelled to London on Nov 13, 2019, to buy back the watch and return it to the owner.
According to District Judge Marvin Bay, Mr Maheson had exploited the victim’s trust when he was too intoxicated to drive.
However, the judge noted the efforts of Mr Maheson’s father in buying back the watch and returning the item. “There is an exceptional effort to restore the watch to the victim,” said Judge Bay.
“This act to restore the watch to the victim, despite being after-the-fact, is conduct that should be encouraged and incentivised by due consideration in sentencing, as the watch may well have sentimental or intangible value over and beyond its monetary value. And the extraordinary measures taken to restore the watch to the victim must show as a genuine expression of remorse and contrition,” he noted in the CNA report.
Still, the substantial value of the timepiece, which contains grass from the pitch of Old Trafford and specially treated to form the watch indexes, could not be overlooked, said Judge Bay.
Mr Maheson could have been jailed up to three years, fined, or both, for theft.
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