x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Phone thief 'blackmailed woman over images'

An unemployed man stole a laptop and mobile phone from a woman's room and threatened to upload pictures of her onto the internet unless she paid him Dh20,000, court told.

DUBAI // A thief who stole a woman's laptop and mobile phone threatened to upload pictures of her onto the internet unless she paid him Dh20,000, the Dubai Criminal Court heard today.

Prosecutors said that MR, an unemployed 24-year-old Emirati, stole a laptop and mobile phone from the bedroom of his 23-year-old compatriot, HN, on the night of September 30 before calling her and making the threat.

It was unclear how he gained access to the room.

The woman told prosecutors that around 3.30am she received a call while she was taking a bath and noticed that the number belonged to one of her other mobile phones. At first she thought the caller must be one of her nieces, but she then heard someone imitating a child's voice asking for her name. She then hung up and left the bathroom to discover that her mobile had been stolen.

Shortly afterwards, she began receiving text messages threatening that if she did not pay Dh20,000 pictures of her from her mobile would be uploaded to the internet.

She reported the messages to police and agreed to take part in a sting operation. As part of the operation she agreed to leave Dh4,000 in an envelope under an electrical cable hut near the Union Cooperative in Oud Muteena. Police said they tried to arrest MR when he came to collect the money, but that he ran away before jumping in a car and speeding off. When the car hit a pillar and came to a halt, two men jumped out and started to run away. Officers caught one, who told them that MR was the man who escaped.

MR denied charges of theft and making verbal threats. The case was adjourned to June 20.

wissa@thenational.ae