Residences at western Singapore's Sentosa Cove. Photo: Google Maps

A 40-year-old domestic worker was jailed for 12 months by a Singapore court on Friday after pleading guilty to stealing more than S$42,000 (US$30,800) worth valuables between February and May this year and having them shipped to her Indonesian home.

Namih Nurlaela had reportedly worked for renowned celebrities’ hairstylist Addy Lee Eng Tat, 46, at his home on Ocean Drive for the past 14 years, the Chinese-language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao reported over the weekend.

The court heard that Nurlaela took the opportunity to steal the valuables when Lee and his personal assistant were overseas on four occasions.

In her first theft in February, Nurlaela stole a brown Hermes Kelly bag, a black Birkin bag, four pairs of shoes and a mobile phone. The estimated value of these items totaled S$28,208. Later she stole another S$13,826 worth of items, including a piece of Louis Vuitton luggage (S$3,000), some sports trousers and cologne.

On June 11, the employer noticed that some of his possessions were missing. Lee was able to recover from Nurlaela’s phone some deleted photos of the missing items in boxes.

The maid initially denied the allegations until she was taken to a police station, Shin Min Daily News reported.

Only S$28,350 worth of items have been recovered, mainly from the fourth and last box of Lee’s stolen possessions, which had yet to be sent out by the logistics company.

As for the first three boxes, they had already been unpacked and some of the content resold by the maid’s family in Indonesia.

Nurlaela told the court she was sorry for what she had done, adding that her thieving was driven by urgent financial difficulties as she had to pay for her mother’s medical costs.

In Singapore, the maximum penalty for theft is a three-year jail term, with fines for each count of theft by a servant.

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