2-month jail terms each for trio who stole $30 worth of scrap metal

National 2 minutes, 38 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THREE men were each sentenced to serve two months in jail yesterday after they admitted to attempting to steal $30 worth of metal.

The trio Masriady Hj Ahad, 31, Abd Rahman Hj Taib, 31, and Asri Hj Taib, 28, were arrested by the police on May 15, 2015 following a report lodged by the complainant regarding a theft at the vicinity of the chicken farm at Jalan Jerudong at Tanjung Nangka.

Upon arriving at the scene, the police found the defendants being detained by members of the public together with a few of the stolen items the trio had attempted to steal namely five steel pipes, three metal rods, a bathtub, three metal beds, three metal gate pieces, a cleaner cover, a water tank and four pieces of zinc pieces.

Investigation later revealed that the complainant’s neighbour saw the three men at the vicinity taking items into their van. The neighbour stopped them and brought in the complainant for help.

The men admitted that they were around that area to look for scrap metal to sell. According to the complainant, the stolen items were valued at $30.

In their mitigation, the three men, who each have previous theft related convictions, sought for another chance as well as personally meet with the complainant to apologise for their action.

Masriady said that he has a family who solely depends on him and if was imprisoned, no one would take care of them. Meanwhile, Abd Rahman told court that he’s seeking to pay compensation as he is currently working and married. Co-accused Asri said that he is also married and has a toddler of whom no one will take care if he goes to prison.

In his sentencing verdict, magistrate Ak Shahyzul Khairuddien Pg Abd Rahman said that this was not a crime of opportunity as the defendant was actively seeking for items for sale and had done so with no regards to property belonging to others and the law.

He went on to say that their criminal enterprise was cut short only due to the intervention of the complainant’s neighbour.

The court further noted the trio’s previous convictions, Masriady was jailed in 2014 for four months for attempted theft, Abd Rahman has a string of theft related offences in 2013 which he has served 11 months in jail while Asri was sentenced in November 2014 to serve three months in jail for theft.

The magistrate said he does not believe the defendants had learned their lesson or that they wanted to apologise to the complainant.

He said that the defendants had committed the offence to gain money by selling the items.

The only mitigating factor the court noted was the defendant’s early plea of guilt, the small value of the items and there was no loss in the first place.

“Theft is on the rise and would be offender needs to be deterred from doing the same and therefore I do not think a fine is merited,” said the magistrate.

As the maximum jail term for attempted theft is one year and six months, the court ordered for the three men to serve two months in jail with immediate effect.

The Brunei Times