Man jailed for stealing money by threatening schoolchildren at knifepoint
Claiming to be a gangster, he warned a group of schoolchildren that he and his "brothers" would slash them if they did not hand him $2 each.
Aidealhira Firman, 23, even whipped out a knife to show the group of four he meant business.
But he was later persuaded by people in the neighbourhood to apologise and repay the $6 he had stolen, and was nabbed after one of the victims shared the incident on his class' WhatsApp chat group.
Aidealhira was yesterday jailed for 14 weeks after pleading guilty last Friday to one count each of theft and criminal intimidation.
Five other related charges were taken into consideration.
Aidealhira, who was unemployed and living with his girlfriend, devised a plan to steal money from schoolchildren.
On March 26, he armed himself with a knife he found in the kitchen of his girlfriend's house.
At 3.35pm, he approached a 13-year-old boy and three of his classmates at a playground in Teck Whye.
He told the four students he could protect them from other gangsters if they gave him $2 each, before threatening to slash them if they refused.
Aidealhira lifted up his T-shirt to reveal the handle of the knife and took it out.
Fearing for their safety, the 13-year-old boy told his friends to give Aidealhira $2 each. When one of them said he had no money, Aidealhira said "okay" and left him alone, Deputy Public Prosecutor Phoebe Tan told the court earlier.
The boy and his friends left the playground while Aidealhira disposed of the knife and spent the $6 on food and drinks.
At about 9pm the next day, the brother of the 13-year-old boy confronted Aidealhira after they saw him at the same playground.
Aidealhira denied his involvement, but an hour later, after some convincing by neighbours who knew him and the boy, he went to the boy's flat to apologise and repay the $6.
The boy's teacher took the boy and one of the other victims to lodge a police report on April 4.
As Aidealhira was a known figure in the neighbourhood, the police tracked him down and arrested him at the void deck of his girlfriend's block.
Calling for a community court conference so Aidealhira could see a court counsellor, District Judge May Mesenas said his offences were serious and warned him not to re-offend.
But the judge gave a discount on the 16 weeks' jail sought by the prosecution in light of the fact that he made restitution and apologised the day after he committed the offences.
For theft, he could have been jailed for up to three years, fined, or both, and for criminal intimidation, he could have been jailed for up to two years, fined, or both.