SINGAPORE – Two teenagers, who committed armed robbery “inspired” by crime television series Crimewatch, were each ordered on Thursday (July 18) to undergo reformative training for at least a year.

Theophileous Jebaraj, 16, and John Karan Karunakaran, 18, will be detained in a reformative training centre to follow a strict regimen that includes foot drills and counselling.

Offenders can be detained for up to 4½ years depending on what the court deems as most appropriate for their rehabilitation.

The two teenagers and a 14-year-old boy targeted sex workers as they felt that this was a “safer way of committing robbery”.

The two older teenagers pleaded guilty in court on June 28 to one count each of committing armed robbery.

The youngest offender, who cannot be named due to his age, was convicted on May 15.

He was sent last month to the Singapore Boys’ Home to serve a two-year sentence.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tay Jia En said Theophileous was sent to the home on Oct 24, 2017, to serve an 18-month sentence for a separate offence, which was not stated in court documents.

He was allowed to temporarily leave the home on Sept 2 last year but failed to return.

While on the run the next day, he met up with the two other teenagers and they talked about their financial woes.

John was on probation at the time for offences which were also not specified in court documents.

The 14-year-old boy suggested stealing mobile phones but Theophileous rejected the idea as he felt that “the returns for stealing were little”.

Theophileous then recalled a segment in Crimewatch about robbery cases targeting sex workers and the trio decided to commit a similar offence.

After John conducted an online search, they decided to target two illegal sex workers from China who lived in a rented flat in Woodlands.

They went to the flat at around 11.30pm on Sept 5 last year and a 36-year-old woman invited them in.

After her flatmate led Theophileous into a room, he whipped out a fruit knife, pointed it at her and demanded cash.

He then searched the room and took $100 in cash from her.

He left the room soon after and told his accomplices to search for valuables.

The three teenagers then fled the scene and the 36-year-old woman made a police report on Sept 9 last year.

Offenders convicted of armed robbery can be jailed for between three and 14 years, and ordered to receive at least 12 strokes of the cane.