Thief deliberately gets arrested to join prison performance troupe
A serial thief in Shanghai said he committed his most recent crime so he could achieve his dream of joining a local prison’s performing arts group, scmp.comreports.
The man, identified by his surname Wang, was sentenced to 10 months in prison and fined $320 in February after being found guilty of stealing cellphones from a hospital in the city’s Jiading district.
The 45-year-old native of eastern China’s Jiangxi province pleaded guilty in court to stealing several handsets from patients while they were asleep but his motive was not economic gain.
According to the report, Wang told the police that he committed the crime because it was the only way he could think of joining Shanghai Tilanqiao Prison’s artistic troupe, a group that has won dozens of awards and staged more than 5,700 performances.
“I wanted a stage on which to sing,” Wang, who made a living as an artist in Shanghai, was quoted as saying.
“Tilanqiao provides this stage, since they get to perform at various prisons. Once I go to prison, I will be able to bring this to a fulfilling end. I will not repeat the same mistakes, I won’t do it anymore,” he added.
Yu Zhong, a prosecutor in Jiading, said the case was unusual because Wang had clearly done all he could to make it easy for police to catch him after stealing the phones from the hospital.
He said the man registered at reception with his own identity card, and that footage from a surveillance camera in the hospital’s lift showed him looking directly into the lens.
“Ordinary thieves don’t want to be caught,” Zhong said. “But Wang was hoping officers would quickly track him down, so his case could be processed quickly and he would have the chance to serve his sentence.”
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