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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Extra jail time for men convicted of Dh35m heist

Dubai Court of Appeal increased their sentences from three years to five

Four men convicted of breaking into a villa, holding a security guard at gunpoint and stealing valuables worth Dh35m will each serve five years in prison instead of three, Dubai Court of Appeal ruled.

On July 3, an Emirati soldier, 34, his unemployed countryman, 29, a Yemeni policeman, 48, and a Somali policeman, 40, staged an early morning raid on the home of an Emirati trader, 40, in Al Garhoud.

The men were armed with two guns, a hammer, screwdriver, electric saw and another sharp tool.

They subdued the villa’s Pakistani watchman, 24, and tied him up before breaking into two safes.

“Four masked men made their way inside the villa. Two of them carrying guns while shouting ‘Police!’ I tried to tell them I was the watchman but they refused to listen,” the guard told Dubai Criminal Court last year.

“They tied me up with plastic cables and questioned me in Urdu whether there was anyone else home. They shoved me down and dragged me inside the villa’s extension but one remained guarding me while the others went back to the villa,” he said.

The watchman said he managed to get away to the street, where a taxi driver untied him. He reported the raid to police.

At the criminal court in September, three of the accused denied an armed robbery charge while the forth admitted to the crime and testified against the others. “They were with me,” he said.

The man told the court that they stole 300 luxury watches worth Dh20m, and antique jewellery.

The homeowner said he collects and sells valuables.

“I had purchased the watches and jewellery on auctions in the UAE and abroad,” he said.

The men also stole antiques and manuscripts, a $150,000 rare copy of the Quran, a Dh1m lady’s handbag embroidered with a Cartier watch plus cheques, business contracts and partnership documents.

They stole power of attorney letters, jewellery receipts and 250 gold, steel and diamond-studded Rolex watches worth Dh4.8m.

The victim said he was unsure why he was being called in by police.

“A month before the incident took place I was detained at Al Muraqqabat Police Station over financial cases. On July 4, I was escorted by policemen to my villa but I didn't know why,” said the man, who was later informed that a gang had forced their way inside his residence and stole Dh35m worth of valuables.

How police tracked down the four accused and arrested them was not disclosed in court records, neither was whether or not any of the valuables were retrieved.

Dubai Criminal Court sentenced the men to three years in jail each last year but prosecutors appealed and sought a harsher sentence.

On Monday, their appeal was granted and the men were sentenced to an additional two years in jail each.

The expatriate defendants will be deported after serving their prison terms.