x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

American in handcuff theft released, excited to return home

Adam Foster, jailed for a month over missing police handcuffs, expects to keep in contact with his fellow inmates after flying home to New York.

Adam Foster outside the Public Prosecution office in Dubai. He says his time in prison has taught him to appreciate the small things in life.
Adam Foster outside the Public Prosecution office in Dubai. He says his time in prison has taught him to appreciate the small things in life.

DUBAI // On each of the 28 days he spent in prison, Adam Foster called his family in the US at 7am to reassure them he was all right.

At 4pm on Tuesday, Mr Foster had better news to report: he was a free man.

And by the same time yesterday he was at Dubai International Airport waiting to catch a flight home.

The engineer had been sentenced to a month in prison on May 11 for being in possession of lost police handcuffs.

Mr Foster, 30, said his girlfriend and family were waiting eagerly for him after hearing he would be heading home to upstate New York.

He said his mother, sister and girlfriend started crying when he revealed his news, while he could hear his father’s glee in the background.

“They are very excited about my return,” Mr Foster said.

More than four months have passed since he arrived in the UAE on January 24 to work for the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority.

Mr Foster said he managed to get his passport yesterday with the help of his lawyer, expediting his return to the family who will be waiting for him at the airport.

He said his time in prison had taught him to appreciate the small things in life.

“In the first five days I slept without a pillow, a tiny thing that we take for granted,” Mr Foster said.

But on the whole, he said, his weeks in prison were better than expected. He spent most of his time making friends and playing cards.

Mr Foster even made a friend on the bus taking him to prison, and when he arrived everybody wanted to talk to him because he was new and they were bored.

“I expect e-mails from some of them,” he said. “The experience wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I met an American inside and made other friends, 95 per cent of whom are there for cheque cases and are businessmen.”

Mr Foster shared a large room with 94 other prisoners of different nationalities.

“The guards were fine but the food was awful,” he said, adding that he made do with crackers, chocolates and other items he bought from the canteen.

He even ordered food from outside twice in his jail term. “One is allowed to order from outside twice a week.”

Mr Foster originally confessed to stealing the handcuffs from a desk at the Jebel Ali Police Station after being picked up for a background check.

He later denied stealing them and said he found them in a mall parking area. The handcuffs were found in his luggage as he was leaving Dubai International Airport.

Mr Foster said his employer, Cameron International, supported him and continued to pay his salary, while their office in Abu Dhabi helped him in every way they could.

“They even paid for my lawyer and I really owe them a lot,” he said, adding his manager had been in constant contact with him.

After he spends a week with loved ones, his job with Cameron, the oil and gas services company based in New York, will be waiting for him.

“I would love to spend more time with my friends and family but my work has done so much for me and I owe them,” Mr Foster said.

salamir@thenational.ae