x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Three men arrested in UAQ Hospital drugs theft

Suspects distracted nurse and made off with painkillers, police say

UMM AL QAWAIN // Three men, including an Emirati, have been arrested on suspicion of stealing drugs from the Umm al Qawain Hospital in what police called an atypically bold case of larceny.

A hospital spokesman confirmed the theft occurred last week. The men entered the emergency department and distracted the nurse attending to them, allowing them to make off with a large quantity of medication, said Lt Col Khalifah al Shamsi, the director general of the police department’s criminal investigations unit.

“They managed to keep the nurse busy and asked her to pick up a few things for them from the reception,” he said. “In her absence they picked up two boxes of painkillers from the emergency department and fled with them.”

The hospital notified police after taking notice of the missing drugs and authorities then began an investigation, using the hospital’s closed circuit television system to identify the trio. The brazen nature of the theft surprised police officers well accustomed to handling drugs cases.

“We have never had such thefts and our hospital have always been safe,” said Lt Col al Shamsi. “This kind of theft, taking medicines that others need to survive, is unusual.”

Police first identified the Emirati man from the security footage and apprehended him. The man was known to the authorities because he had been involved in other theft cases, police said. The detained man then told police of his two accomplices, who were arrested in a neighbouring emirate with the co-operation of its police and were found in possession of the stolen drugs.

ykakande@thenational.ae