Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 25 August 2019

Death penalty for eight men over spate of armed robberies in Sharjah

The suspects were caught after three raids in which about Dh1.8 million was stolen

Sharjah Police released this image of one of the vans that was attacked in December 2016. Courtesy: Sharjah Police
Sharjah Police released this image of one of the vans that was attacked in December 2016. Courtesy: Sharjah Police

Eight men have been sentenced to death over a spate of armed robberies in Sharjah in which security van guards were attacked and Dh1.8 million stolen.

The men - all Nigerian nationals - were convicted of armed robbery, physical assault and forcefully obtaining money by Sharjah Criminal Court on Wednesday.

The cash was stolen in three raids on vans transporting cash boxes in December 2016. The men were arrested in early January 2017.

The court heard some of men admitted the charges, while others denied them, at an earlier hearing.

At the time, Sharjah Police said about 20 suspects were initially held over the raids outside ATM machines.

The first raid took place at a Dubai Commercial Bank ATM on King Abdul Aziz Street where about Dh340,000 was stolen.

Two days later the gang attacked security guards near an ATM in Al Safeer Mall in Al Nahda and made off with about Dh700,000. A third attack on a van near a cash machine in the Muweilah area led to Dh710,000 being taken.

A fourth attack at a money exchange office on Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Road, near National Paints on the Dubai-Sharjah border, was thwarted by police.

The men fought with police, injuring two officers, as they were taken into custody, Sharjah Police's Colonel Aref Al Bayat told reporters at the time.

Police said some of the money was recovered and some lost, without specifying figures.

“Officers found drugs in the apartment, which was shared with about 40 people from the same nationality,” he said.

A ninth suspect was sentenced to six months in prison on Wednesday, to be followed by deportation for possessing stolen money.

He told the court he was not aware the money was stolen. He said the brother of one of his fellow defendants phoned him from Nigeria and asked him to take Dh60,000 and transfer it to him.

The case was the latest in a spate of armed robberies.

In February, nine men, also all Nigerians, were sentenced to a total of 18 years for a raid on a cash transit vehicle in Dubai.

And last month, two men were arrested over an armed robbery on a supermarket in Sharjah.

Dramatic CCTV footage showed the men wielding cleavers and lashing out at security guards, who tackled them. The men are in custody awaiting trial.

Updated: April 19, 2019 10:50 AM