x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Man denies alcohol-fuelled crime spree

An Indian man accused of holding up a barber shop at knifepoint and mugging a man at Abra Station appears in court.

DUBAI // An Indian man who is accused of holding up a barber shop at knifepoint and mugging a man at Abra Station during what appeared to be an alcohol-fuelled rampage appeared before the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance yesterday. The defendant, DK, 38, pleaded guilty to one count of armed robbery, one count of assault and another count of robbery. He is accused of stealing Dh7,215 (US$1,964) during the Sept 10 spree, which started at 11.30pm when he entered a barber's shop in Deira and demanded money. According to court documents, when one of the patrons in the shop tried to calm him down, DK took out a knife and threatened staff with it. He then broke open the cash register and stole Dh2,715 before fleeing.

RJ, a 33-year-old Indian national who was in the shop at the time, said the defendant gave off a strong smell of alcohol. RJ told prosecutors that he tried to run after DK but could not catch up with him. In his statement to prosecutors, RJ said shop patrons dissuaded him from calling the police so as not to "complicate matters". According to the statement, even the shop owner did not file a police report on the robbery. But about 90 minutes later, while RJ was at the Abra station, DK came at him from behind and struck him over the head with a bottle of mineral water. RJ tried to defend himself, but DK twisted his arm and overpowered him.

A large crowd began to gather as a scuffle ensued. Onlookers managed to pull the defendant off RJ. He discovered his wallet was missing as DK, who was later arrested, managed to flee the scene. RJ went to the nearby Rifaa police station and reported the incident. His wallet contained Dh4,500 as well as personal identification. It was not clear from court documents whether the stolen money and ID were recovered, or whether RJ and the occupants of the shop and the defendant knew each other.

hbathish@thenational.ae