New methods developed by pick-pockets raise concern among Abu Dhabi residents

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Abu Dhabi: Pickpockets are using new tricks to dupe victims, residents warn.

Only a few days ago, Indian Arshid Bhat reported that while walking near a jewellery store on Hamdan Street, a man spat on his clothes as he passed by. The stranger then apologised to Bhat and attempted to clean the stain off his clothes with a friend before fleeing the scene.

“At first I was not aware that my wallet had been stolen. However, a security guard from a nearby private hospital asked me to check whether any of my belongings were missing as he had seen similar incidents occur in the area recently,” said the 40- year-old project manager.

“Upon doing so, I was surprised to find that my wallet, which contained approximately Dh300 along with important identification cards and bank cards, was gone,” he added.

The hospital’s security guard said that he first heard of a similar incident when a patient’s father was heading towards the hospital to pay his daughter’s medical bills.

“He was carrying bags in both hands at the time, and told me that a man spat on his trousers and took his wallet which contained Dh8,500. Another colleague of mine told me that while heading to the mosque for prayers, he spotted the same thing happening to a man on the street,” said Egyptian Ahmad Marzouq, who has been in his position for six months.

This theft was the first in a series that took place over a period of five days. Although Bhat has reported the incident to the police, it is still unclear whether the suspect has been caught and if he is working alone or with other individuals.
“Since all the reports we received took place in the evening, I will remain on the lookout for any such incidents and if I am lucky enough to see him, I will chase him even if I have to run after him for hours,” Marzouq added.

Bhat hopes that talking about his ordeal will make residents keep an eye on their personal belongings while out.
When contacted an Abu Dhabi Police official said: “Although pick-pocketing is rare in Abu Dhabi, it is always wise to be vigilant.”

“To avoid becoming a victim of a pick-pocket: keep cash secure and out of sight; keep your bag firmly closed at all times; and avoid carrying your wallet or purse in a back pocket. In the rare circumstance that a member of the public becomes a pick-pocketing victim, they should contact the police as soon as possible,” he added.

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