Eugene Goh recounts how he helped to apprehend a perpetrator and recover £820 (S$1,395) in cash.
On the morning of Oct 27, a Thursday, Eugene Goh, 33, was driving his family to lunch in the Siglap neighborhood when a woman ran up to his car, barefoot, saying that somebody had taken money from her home.
The Gohs turned back trailed the robber from the car. “He was just strolling,” said Goh. “Either he had just run a very far distance, or he could have been on drugs or something. He seemed a bit high.”
When he saw the woman who called for help approaching the suspect with another female in tow, both holding bricks, Goh left the car and walked up to the scene.
He shouted at the suspect to stop, keeping a safe distance while staying close enough to make sure he would not escape. “The key thing on my mind was to ensure that he returned all the money he had stolen, and that the women and I were safe,” says Goh.
Goh admits that he wasn’t sure of the situation initially. “At first, I was a little skeptical … I didn’t know if it was a lovers’ quarrel or something else.”
It was only when the suspect turned around that Goh noticed the wad of cash in his back pocket.
The man then threw some money to the ground, which sent the two women scurrying to retrieve it. As Goh continued following him and shouting at him to stop, the suspect threw out a second wad of cash.
Finally the suspect stopped. Goh then noticed that beneath the white gloves he was wearing, the suspect was clutching a pair of scissors.
Having served at CHC’s Sunday School for the past 14 years as a volunteer, Goh, a regional finance manager knew how to be assertive and command cooperation when necessary.
He applied this to the suspect. “He agreed to remove his gloves and put down his scissors, and he let me pat him down. He was saying that he was very poor, in a bad state, and pleaded to be let go, but of course, I couldn’t do that,” says Goh.
As all this was unfolding, Goh’s wife, Lee Yi Lun, a pastor at City Harvest Church, was in the car with their three young children. “I was just concerned that he might be attacked—that was all that was going through my mind! Thank God he was safe!” she says.
The family resumed their drive to lunch after the police arrived. The Straits Times has reported that the police issued a statement saying that they had arrested a 46-year-old man for suspected involvement in housebreaking and theft at Frankel Avenue. The suspect was charged on Oct 28 with housebreaking and theft, and may be fined and imprisoned for up to 10 years.
The entire incident was recorded on Goh’s dashboard camera.
Watch: Goh’s dashboard camera captured what happened when the victim approached him for help.
City News asked Goh the one key thing citizens should—or should not do—when faced with a similar situation?
“It’s very important to assess the situation, and to keep a distance,” says Goh. “You don’t know how violent they are, what weapons they have, or how desperate they are. They may not intend to harm you but in the heat of the moment, anything can happen.”
In Goh’s case, he was able to ascertain the level of threat in front of him and act accordingly, resulting in the successful recovery of the stolen cash.
“I was just at the right place at the right time,” he says. “The amount may not be much, but at least I was able to help solve a crime.”