Eight men believed to be behind several thefts in Abu Dhabi have been netted by police.
The Afghans and Colombians allegedly targeted customers who had put large amounts of cash in handbags and envelopes after withdrawing it from banks. The gang are believed to have distracted the victims then swiped their cash.
Police received nine complaints from customers who had been robbed in that manner over a period of two months - a total of Dhs191,000 was reported stolen. The officers said eight theft cases were reported at banks in Abu Dhabi City and one at a branch in Musaffah.
Colonel Rashid Mohammed Burshid, chief of criminal investigations at Abu Dhabi Police , said a team was formed to investigate the crimes.
Detectives monitored the banks they believed could be targeted and arrested one man at the scene. Police said the gang used various ploys to distract their victims, including pouring oil under their victims’ cars to dupe them into thinking they had a leak.
“After the customers withdrew their cash and entered their vehicles, the suspect would knock on the victim’s window and claim there was a problem with the vehicle,” Burshid said.
“The victim would get out of the car to check the problem and the gang members would snatch the purse or envelope containing money from the passenger seat and run away,” he said. Police said that the men confessed to the crimes and have been referred to public prosecution.
A probe revealed that four of the Afghan suspects infiltrated the country by land and the three Colombians along with another Afghan national entered the UAE on business and tourist visas. Cops urged people to take care when withdrawing large sums of money from banks.