x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 23 November 2017

Pair 'set equipment company office on fire after stealing Dh50,000 and cheque from it' 

The Pakistanis allegedly stole the money then forged a signature to cash the Dh116,000 cheque they took from the office. 

Two men set an equipment rental company on fire after they stole Dh50,000 worth of its property and a cheque, prosecutors told Dubai Criminal Court on Monday.

The Pakistani pair, aged 26 and 30, allegedly poured fuel around the company offices in Al Quoz industrial area, set it alight then escaped.

They were charged with setting fire to an inhabited building, stealing a cheque, forging and using the forged cheque and unlawfully obtaining the cheque’s cash amount.

The older defendant, who was also charged with stealing equipment, was present in court and denied all charges. His co-defendant did not attend the hearing.

The company’s owner told police that he left the UAE briefly in November last year and asked the 30-year-old defendant to take care of his business in his absence.

“When I returned the following month, I discovered that he had stolen some equipment. I asked him to return it then told his mother about it when he did not return the equipment,” said the 32-year-old owner.

He added that on January 4, after he reported the man to police, his company property went up in flames.

“I suspected that he did it as revenge for my reporting him to police and for telling his mother,” said the owner, who is also from Pakistan.

Police arrested the man as he was trying to flee the country from Dubai International Airport.

Prosecutors said that the two men stole a cheque from the victim, forged his signature, cashed the cheque and hid the money - Dh116,000 - with a third man.

“I have nothing to do with this. The other two gave me the money to keep with me for a while. They tricked me into doing this and I didn’t know it was stolen,” said the third defendant, a 26-year-old Pakistani.

The older defendant allegedly confessed during questioning to burning the property in revenge after planning and arranging with the other defendant to buy the fuel for the fire.

The next hearing will be on July 17.