Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 12 November 2019

Police arrest European 'safe-breaker' disguised in abaya after City Walk break-in

Officers traced the suspect using a CCTV network stretching across the city after he stole Dh3 million

A professional thief flew into Dubai and disguised himself as a woman to rob a wealthy family.

The European man broke into an upmarket apartment in the City Walk district and poured corrosive chemicals into the alarm system to disable it.

He then drilled through the steel with equipment bought in a hardware shop after he landed.

Dubai Police released details of the robbery as they confirmed the man's arrest within an hour of the break-in.

Officers did not release his identity or nationality but said he has been linked to break-ins across the Arabian Gulf.

His victim was a French speaker – described as a 'merchant' by police – who had cash and luxury watches in the fridge-sized safe. He had returned to Europe with his pregnant wife, leaving the apartment empty.

The suspect was acting on a tip-off that the "merchant" kept large amounts of cash at home.

In a video released by police, officers showed how they followed the suspect on September 6 as soon as he left the plane at Dubai International Airport.

The suspect was seen shopping for tools and checking in to a budget hotel in the Naif area of Deira.

Before the robbery on September 8, the suspect was captured on CCTV wearing an abaya and pulling a suitcase.

He then took a taxi to City Walk near Downtown Dubai and gained access to the apartment.

Police said he was unaware that the safe had cash and goods worth Dh10 million and was only able to fit Dh3m in his case.

General Jamal Salem Al Jalaf, director of the General Directorate of Criminal Investigations, said the suspect was arrested shortly after hailing a taxi near City Walk.

"It only took 47 minutes to arrest him after his crime," he said.

The suspect was handed over to prosecutors.

Gen Al Jalaf urged residents who are away from home for prolonged periods to register with the directorate's Home Security Service, which periodically sends officers to check on empty villas and apartments.

Updated: November 3, 2019 02:52 PM

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