DUBAI// A 30-year-old American engineer will spend a month in prison after being convicted of stealing handcuffs from a desk at Jebel Ali police station during a security check.
The defendant, Adam Foster, had initially faced a jail sentence of five years, but the charge was changed to possessing a lost item, which carries a penalty of a few months in prison or a fine.
Foster had come to the UAE for a month to work with the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority.
He told prosecutors that a day before he was due to return to the US, he went to Ibn Battuta Mall, where he found the handcuffs on the ground in the car park. The handcuffs, which he kept and stored in his luggage, were detected as he attempted to leave the country on the evening of February 25.
According to records, at dawn on February 25, police had taken Foster and three colleagues to the Jebel Ali police station for a security check after finding two bottles of Korean wine in their car. At the station, a 24-year-old police officer O K, who owned the handcuffs, carried out the security check.
O K claimed he left his handcuffs on his desk. When he finished the check, the men were released without charge at around 6am. O K said he did not notice the handcuffs were missing until his colleagues from the station phoned him and informed him. Later the same day he was told that a man was arrested at the airport for stealing his handcuffs.
According to records, Foster confessed during police investigations to stealing the handcuffs from a desk at the Jebel Ali Police Station but when he was referred to prosecution, he changed his story and said he found them in a car park.
Foster wrote on his Facebook wall that the interrogations officer said to him; “I am going to continue to hit you until you tell me that you stole the handcuffs”. He also claimed that his feet were lashed repeatedly until they were injured but when he told the prosecutor, he was refused permission to take photos as evidence of the torture.
Foster also denied the charges before presiding judge Hamdy Abu Al Khair on April 21.
“Its not logical your honour that a man being inspected in a security check at a police station and would steal from there,” said his defence lawyer, Yousuf Hammad.
Mr Hammad also argued that Foster was in a room with three other men but none saw him taking the handcuffs and none were questioned over the alleged crime.
Foster, who was released on bail on March 1, attended the second hearing with his girlfriend. He arrived at court half an hour after today’s verdict to start his prison term. Mr Hammad said that the days he spent in detention will be deducted from the sentence.