x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Thieves steal 160kg safe from vegetable market

Following weekend thefts at two stalls, Dubai Municipality says security at Al Awir Fruits and Vegetable Market will be upgraded with CCTV cameras soon.

DUBAI // Nearly a quarter of a million dirhams has been stolen from two shops at the emirate's Al Awir Fruits and Vegetable Market.

Traders at the Emirates Road marketplace are calling for increased security after they discovered on yesterday morning that Dh200,000 had been stolen from one shop, and Dh2,000 from another.

"They came in and just took out the entire safe with all our money, insurance papers and so on in it," said Zubair Mohammed Ali, the owner of Afsar & Khamas, a wholesale fruit trading shop.

Mr Ali said his safe weighed more than 160 kilograms and contained Dh200,000. The thieves gained entry by breaking the glass door to his shop. "It looks like a planned robbery," he added.

Employees discovered the theft when they arrived at work on Saturday morning. "We were shocked to see the safe missing. We immediately lodged a complaint with the police who came and took fingerprints for further investigations," said Mr Ali. "They told us that no one has been arrested so far."

Mr Ali said a second shop was targeted on the same night and Dh2,000 in cash was stolen.

Lack of security has been a continuing problem for traders at the market, which is home to 250 stalls. "It is open all through and day and night and there are no security guards at the entrance and the exit of the shops. We are worried about safety," said Mr Ali.

Dubai Municipality, which manages the market, plans to upgrade security at the market by installing CCTV cameras, an official said. "We will soon have cameras installed all over the market to improve the security. It will be done very soon in cooperation with the police," said Khalifa Hareb, director of the Assets Management department at the municipality.

This is not the first time the market has made headlines this year. Last month, the body of a 55-year-old man from India was found in a container of onions. Police said he fell asleep in the container and suffocated.

At the start of the year, more than a dozen traders came forward to complain of massive financial losses after a businessman who owed them "millions" allegedly absconded in December.