They say a hug costs nothing, but for an Abu Dhabi resident it proved otherwise.
Indian expat Noushad lost Dh29,000 when an abaya-clad con woman  stole his bulging wallet after locking him in an unexpected embrace in an elevator recently. The incident happened in broad daylight in the Al Raed Automatic Laundry building in the capital’s Tourist Club area.
Shocked by affection
Noushad, 48, a vehicle estimator with an insurance firm, said he was completely taken aback by the Arabic speaking woman’s abrupt display of affection.
“It was around 1.40pm. I was about to cross the road to check on a vehicle when a woman approached me asking for a pen,” he recalled.
Noushad said the woman asked him to accompany her into the Al Raed building and help her fill up a form in English.
“She said she lived there with her family and was looking around for help as she could not read or write English.
“She appeared genuine,” said Noushad. He had never been more mistaken.
As soon as they stepped into the elevator, the helpless woman transformed into a seductress and hugged Naushad in a tight embrace. “Nothing had prepared me for this. It happened in a blur. I got so panic-stricken I dashed out of the elevator as soon as it stopped on one of the floors,” he said.
Noushad said it took him a while to realise he had been robbed. “I did not know she was a pickpocket. The sickening reality dawned on me when I went to a nearby restaurant and checked my wallet. It contained Dh29,000 which I had borrowed from a friend.”
Noushad said he immediately reported the matter to the Shabia Police Station.
Chillingly, this is not the first time that someone has been mugged by a woman  in an abaya.
Similar incidents have been reported in the past in Dubai and Sharjah as well.
Early this year, two Ethiopian men were arrested for pickpocketing after they deliberately bumped into victims and hugged them apologetically.
By Anjana Sankar