courts

Trio lose appeal; jailed for Dh1.5m gold heist

Defendants locked up jewellery store staff in washroom and looted gold worth Dh1.5m

12:44 April 14, 2018

Dubai: Three gangsters, who stole gold worth Dh1.5 million from a jewellery store after threatening the staff and confining them in a washroom, lost their appeal and will be jailed for three years each.

Four Afghan men masked themselves, wore gloves and stormed the store in Dubai International City around noon, stole the gold and fled in a vehicle.

The fifth culprit was in the car.

The men used pepper spray on at least one of the employees who were confined in the washroom.

Police investigation led to the arrest of three of the defendants, who were traced by the plate number of the car that they had rented to carry out the heist.

In January, the Dubai Court of First Instance convicted the five Afghan defendants of stealing the gold at knifepoint and under threat and jailed each of them for three years.

The two suspects who remain at large were sentenced in absentia.

The trio, who were convicted, appealed their primary judgements before the Appeal Court and sought to have their punishment reduced.

Presiding judge Saeed Salem Bin Sarm rejected the trio’s appeal and upheld their three-year imprisonment.

According to the appellate ruling, the defendants, who had pleaded not guilty, will be deported following the completion of their punishments.

The trio contended before the appellate court that the absconders had carried out the heist.

Preliminary investigation revealed that the defendants had fled towards Al Ain where they got rid of the weapons (knives and pepper spray) and the gloves and masks.

A police lieutenant said during questioning, the defendants admitted that they had planned to storm the store and steal the gold after having monitored the place for some time.

“They also admitted that they bought the gloves, masks and pepper spray. The suspects said one of them stayed in the car while the remaining four stormed the store and carried out the heist … they said that they sprayed pepper in the eyes of the staff and then locked some of them in the washroom,” said the lieutenant.

According to records, part of the stolen gold was recovered from the arrested defendants. The remaining is with two of the defendants who remain at large.

The appellate ruling remains subject to appeal before the Cassation Court.