Abu Dhabi's bank clients warned of ‘surprise thefts’

Top Stories

Abu Dhabis bank clients warned of ‘surprise thefts’

Study conducted by Abu Dhabi Police reveals startling methods adopted by robbers.

By Staff Reporter

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Mon 29 Sep 2014, 12:55 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 5:24 PM

An analytical study conducted by the Abu Dhabi Police has revealed multiple professional plans to rob bank customers after they finish their financial transactions.

Warning banking customers against “surprise thefts”, Lt-Colonel Nasser Suleiman Al Maskari, Head of the Operations at the General Directorate of Central Operations, noted: “Unprotected money attracts weak-minded people.”

He stressed the need to follow police instructions after carrying out big financial transactions.

Lt-Col Al Maskari pointed out that security surveillance camera operators recently noticed a number of “sequential events” followed by opportunistic bank thieves to take unsuspecting bank customers by surprise, commit theft and flee the scene.

“Thieves lie in wait and observe their victims upon leaving the bank until they get into their car. At this point, the thief’s accomplice would knock on the car window pointing out a fake flaw in the car — from an oil leak to a flat tyre — prompting the driver to exit his/her vehicle to examine the damage. This gives the suspect a window of opportunity to seize the cash or the handbag from the passenger seat inside the vehicle and to flee the scene quietly.”

He noted that the study provided examples of the different methods used in thefts; the thieves’ features; plausible times for thefts, planning methods and task distribution between thieves; as well as escape plans and means. He explained that the operations room monitored and analysed these results in light of the different notifications they recently received and what has been observed through surveillance cameras.

Modus operandi

According to the study, the gang members are a group of at least three young men of Asian features, aged between 25 and 35 years, and wearing shirts and pants.

“They usually carry out their robberies between 11.30am and 1.30pm,” Lt-Col Al Maskari said. “The gang members distribute tasks among themselves based on an elaborate plan to carry out their thefts. The gang is generally made up of thee members: The accomplice or deceiver, the main thief and the spotter who keeps watch.

“The ‘deceiver’ knocks on the vehicle’s window, while the ‘thief’ opens the vehicle’s door and snatches the money after the victim steps out of the car. The ‘spotter’ pretends to speak on the mobile phone while keeping a lookout ... They all walk in one direction towards the nearest alley behind nearby buildings to avoid security cameras. They avoid using any transportation means, but sometimes use a bicycle to prowl around banks and choose their victims.”

He noted that there is a “possible mutual coordination” between the gang and other individuals who prowl at targeted banks.

Case in point

Lt-Col Al Maskari referred to a previous robbery during which the gang members were lying in wait in front of a bank on Corniche Road, when they suddenly headed on foot to another bank located on Hamdan Street.

“This proves that the gang members received information by phone about a bank customer leaving the bank while carrying cash. It also shows prior and professional plans to target bank clients,” he said.

He urged individuals to handle their cash cautiously and to store it in a safe place; and not to leave money inside the car when they park it in a public place.

He also called upon community members to not hesitate to notify the Operations Room on 999 to report any suspicious person or vehicle following them. “Women or elderly people should not be left alone when withdrawing large amounts of money.”


More news from