x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Burglars 'robbed 11 houses in fortnight'

Police say they have arrested 'highly sophisticated' pair who flew in from Georgia

DUBAI // Police say they have arrested two "highly sophisticated" burglars who broke into 11 houses in Dubai and Sharjah over the past fortnight.

The two Georgian men, MB and RT, both in their thirties, were arrested in Sharjah yesterday about 11am, police said.

They said the men had arrived at Dubai International Airport on May 5 with a plan to carry out a series of house robberies over three weeks before flying out.

They are accused of seven thefts in the Bur Dubai, Al Rifa'a and Muraqabat areas in Dubai, and another four in Sharjah, where they were staying. The thefts netted jewellery and cash worth more than Dh1 million.

"The gang has a very advanced criminal method and they were very careful in every step … which made the task very difficult," said Brig Khalil Al Mansouri, the head of Dubai Police CID.

Police said the two hardly ever moved together and were highly selective of the buildings they entered.

They chose buildings with weak security and no surveillance cameras, and carried out their crimes in the mornings at homes where working people lived, police said.

"They used to knock on the door to ensure that the homes are empty and used to break the lock in seconds," Brig Al Mansouri said.

"The whole operation did not take more than 10 minutes."

After a number of reports, the CID formed placed the three districts where the thefts were occurring under heavy surveillance.

"We were able to catch the first [lead] on Thursday, when a patrol in Rifa'a got suspicious of a white sedan car roaming in the area," Brig Al Mansouri said.

"Investigations revealed that the same vehicle was also present in the other areas at the time of the theft."

Police said they traced the vehicle to a car-rental business in Sharjah.

"We put the car rental under surveillance and gave clear directions not to stop the suspects, to be able to identify the places they were staying in," Brig Al Mansouri said.

He said the investigating team identified the flats where the men were staying in Al Bateen and Al Nahda, and then tracked the suspects by foot for five kilometres before arresting them.

Police said they recovered jewellery hidden in both flats and have asked victims to identify their belongings.

wissa@thenational.ae