Gang strikes electric wire shops in Sharjah

SHARJAH — An unidentified gang has systematically robbed electric hardware outlets in the Sharjah Industrial Area. They are looking for long wires which can be melted to extract valuable copper for sale, Khaleej Times has learnt.


Afkar Ali Ahmed

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Published: Sat 22 Jul 2006, 10:29 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 7:16 PM

During the past one month more than 8 thefts have occurred. All electric wires having a length of ten metres and above, have been snatched. In some cases, outlets have been robbed twice a week. Copper fetches handsome prices in the black market.

The gang appears to have specialised in gaining entry to these outlets by using iron saws and screw drivers to break the locks.

A number of warehouse and outlets owners in Sharjah industrial Area have urged the authorities to tackle this menace as otherwise organised thefts like this would increase. They suspect that metal traders who are willing to buy stolen goods are encouraging the robbers.

The investors in Sharjah industrial area blame the lack of proper lighting on the streets and stress the need for alarm systems connected to Police operations rooms as well as police patrols in all parts of the Industrial area.

Anwar Ismaeel, one of the victims, revealed that his shop was robbed twice in one week. The first theft took place last week on Friday and the thieves decamped with stolen goods worth Dh 235,000. In the second theft, which took place two days later, they got away with goods worth Dh 400,000.

He pointed out that it would have taken four hours for the gang to load such a large quantity of wire from his warehouse into a truck. He can't understand how the thieves could do it that quickly without getting caught.

He lodged complaints with the police who came twice to take fingerprints and conduct investigations. "I wish the authorities could stop this mess soon, we bought these goods by paying with cheques and not cash and now we will end up in prison," he said worry writ large on his face.

Ismaeel said he has been selling the electric wires of all length for ten years and never expected that one day he would have to end up in prison. He has contracts with various companies for buying the wires and they have been paid for by cheques, he reiterated dwelling on his predicament.

The owner of Al Saad Electric shop said that his outlets were robbed at the end of last month and a large quantity of wires was stolen. He is still waiting for the police investigations to result in the arrest of the culprits. He said that the industrial area has become a sanctuary for runaway workers, criminals and thieves. He urged the authorities to deploy CID officers in the area to get rid of such crimes.

The owner of KeyWest Electric Equipment, yet another victim, said that as the police couldn't arrest those who committed this series of thefts, all the investors feel insecure to do business here. Officials from Emirates International for theft protection equipment said that most of the investors choose not to install theft protection equipment due to its high cost.

He pointed out that there are two methods of theft protection -- one is to instal alarm systems with the warehouse to be connected with police operations room, while the second method is to connect the warehouse with an alerting system, which is connected directly to the mobile phone.

An official from Sharjah police said that the investigation section is currently working hard to curb the thefts, which have increased in summer time by 23 per cent. He said the police do succeed in arresting many of the thieves who commit such kinds of the crime and are still investigating many other theft crimes. The police have already deployed undercover police officers to watch the jobless and absconding workers in industrial areas and strangers in residential areas, he added.

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