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Jail for maid who stole S$16,000 worth of gold jewellery and cash from employer

SINGAPORE — Entrusted with free access to her employers' home, an Indonesian domestic worker decided to exploit that trust and steal more than S$16,000 worth of gold jewellery and cash from them.

Ria Dwi Astuti, 35, an Indonesian domestic worker, was jailed for six months and two weeks for theft in her capacity as a servant.
Ria Dwi Astuti, 35, an Indonesian domestic worker, was jailed for six months and two weeks for theft in her capacity as a servant.
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  • An Indonesian domestic worker was jailed for six months and two weeks for stealing from her employer
  • She stole more than S$16,000 worth of gold jewellery and cash 
  • She later handed the jewellery to a man to sell for cash but he disappeared with the stolen goods

SINGAPORE — Entrusted with free access to her employers' home, an Indonesian domestic worker decided to exploit that trust and steal more than S$16,000 worth of gold jewellery and cash from them.

Ria Dwi Astuti, 35, then handed the jewellery to a man — whom she met on one of her days off — to sell for cash, only for the man to disappear with the stolen goods.

On Wednesday (Sept 28), she was jailed for six months and two weeks after she pleaded guilty to one charge of theft as a servant.

The sentence is backdated to her date of arrest on Aug 21. 

HOW IT HAPPENED

Ria had been working for her 65-year-old employer, Ms Gindo Kaur, since January 2021, the court heard.

She was tasked with doing household chores, preparing meals for the family and buying groceries.

Ms Kaur also gave Ria free access to the three bedrooms in her house so that Ria could do the work independently. 

While working, Ria learnt that Ms Kaur had kept valuables in a wardrobe drawer in the master bedroom. 

State Prosecuting Officer Lim Yeow Leong told the court that Ria had “formed the dishonest intent to commit theft” sometime between January and February 2022 — a year after she began to work for Ms Kaur — but the exact date could not be ascertained. 

She then stole 20 pieces of gold jewellery, including a number of bangles and rings, as well as about £900 (S$1,602.63) from the drawer in Ms Kaur’s master bedroom. 

However, Ria lost all the stolen jewellery after handing them over to an acquaintance to sell in return for cash. Court documents named the acquaintance as "Mohd Ravi".

She had met him at the Eunos MRT Station on one Sunday in March, which was her day off. The man could not be contacted after that. 

As for the stolen foreign cash, the court heard that Ria changed them to Singapore dollars at a money changer in Bedok. 

She then enlisted the help of another acquaintance to send S$650 to her family in Indonesia while she spent the rest of the money during her rest days here. 

Her crimes only came to light months later, on Aug 21, when Ms Kaur discovered that her jewellery and cash were missing. 

After her husband returned home, she confronted Ria, who admitted to stealing them.  

That same evening, Ms Kaur called the police and told them: "My jewellery and foreign money was stolen by my helper. The helper is now here.” 

Speaking to the court through an interpreter, Ria said that she would like to go back to Indonesia as soon as possible to see her mother and take care of her child. 

She added that she had already apologised to Ms Kaur and hoped that her employer would accept her apologies.

EXPLOITED TRUST AND AUTONOMY

When considering her sentence, District Judge Janet Wang said that the quantity and quality of items stolen was of significant value. 

She noted that Ria had also accrued personal gain and did not make any restitution. 

“Equally relevant is that you had exploited the trust and autonomy accorded to you by your employer,” Judge Wang said. 

The judge concluded that these had caused significant harm to Ria’s employer and sentenced the worker to six months and two weeks in jail.

For committing theft in the capacity of a servant, Ria could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined.

Related topics

maid theft crime court stealing foreign domestic worker employer jewellery

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