Cleaner in Dubai steals watches worth Dh8.3m, sells them cheap

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He would hide them in the trash bin and steal them later.

A cleaner has gone on trial at the Dubai Court of First Instance after he allegedly stole as many as 86 expensive watches worth over Dh8.3 million.

The 26-year-old cleaner, an Indian, is accused of stealing the valuables from a watch and jewellery shop where he worked.

Two Pakistani men (cousins), aged 44 and 25, both fugitives, are on trial in absentia for possession of the stolen watches.

The main defendant is in detention.

A complaint was filed on January 6 this year at Naif police station.

“I own shops that sell watches and jewellery in the Gold Souq. On December 25 last year, I was in one of my shops when an Indian salesman brought to my attention that a watch, worth Dh30,000, was found in its box in the trash bin,” an Iraqi businessman, 51, recounted in front of the public prosecution investigator. “I took the matter lightly, thinking it must have fallen accidentally there. However, that caught the attention of an employee who went to my partner’s shop and alerted him.”

According to the owner, they then checked the shop’s CCTV cameras which captured the cleaner taking the watch, putting it in a box and dropping it in the trash bin so he could smuggle it outside the shop later.

“When we confronted the cleaner, he confessed he was about to steal the watch as he needed money. He denied, though, having stolen any items from the other shops. But we did not believe him,” the owner said.

“We contacted the defendant’s brother who was then in India and who works as a manager at our shops. I told him to come back to Dubai as we were then carrying inventories on the merchandise in the shops.”

When the owner and his partner asked the defendant again about the theft in the presence of his brother, he confessed he had stolen two watches worth Dh250,000 and Dh270,000, respectively. He sold each of them to a Pakistani man for Dh10,000. He claimed he was not yet paid for the second watch and that he used to meet that Pakistani man after work at a nearby café.

The cleaner reportedly told the owner that the other man took advantage that he was a thief of watches and used him by purchasing them for a very cheap price.

During the public prosecution investigation, the defendant admitted he stole the watches and then sold them to his two accomplices who knew they were stolen.

He will be sentenced on February 26.