SINGAPORE – A Nanyang Technological University (NTU) professor pleaded guilty in court on Thursday (April 20) to two counts of shoplifting.
Er Meng Joo, 55, who is a full professor in electrical and electronic engineering, admitted that he had stolen items including air fresheners and toiletries worth $225.15 in all from an NTUC FairPrice outlet at a Dunearn Road Esso service station in January last year.
Five other shoplifting charges involving items worth $228.20 will be taken into consideration during sentencing.
Er was caught in the act after store manager Lam Wing Kin, 41, reviewed the store’s closed-circuit television footage.
The manager saw Er behaving suspiciously in the store and that he left the store without paying for some items at around 4pm on Jan 27.
The items included a wall charger and two bottles of mouthwash.
Mr Lam also spotted Er shoplifting again at around 9.40am on Jan 29.
This time, he stole items such as a power bank, two air fresheners and a micro USB cable.
Realising Er was a regular customer, Mr Lam traced his name and the vehicle plate number of his car.
He lodged a police report on Jan 30 and Er admitted to the offences when officers visited his home.
On Thursday, the court called for a report to assess his suitability for a mandatory treatment order (MTO).
An MTO is for offenders who suffer from psychiatric conditions.
They must go for psychiatric treatment in lieu of jail time.
Er will be back in court on May 22.
According to the NTU website, he was an elected member of the NTU Advisory Board from 2009 to 2012.
He also served as a member of the NTU Senate Steering Committee from 2010 to 2012.
Er clinched the Most Zealous Professor of the Year Award in 2009 and five years later, he won the Outstanding Mentor Award.
The Straits Times understands that he is still employed at the university.
For each count of shoplifting, he can be jailed up to three years and fined.