DUBAI 18 April 2023: In an operation dubbed ‘Operation Microscope’, Dubai Police General Command dismantled an organised gang specialising in residential villa thefts and targeting bank clients.
The operation involved putting the gang members “under the microscope” and meticulously monitoring their movements and activities both within and outside the country, leading up to the decisive moment when their residence was raided and the suspects were apprehended.
Major General Jamal Al Jallaf confirmed the arrest of the gang members following some tip-offs received by the Command and Control Centre regarding residential villa burglaries occurring while the owners were vacationing abroad. He stated, “The suspects engaged in night-time break-ins, stealing valuable items such as jewellery and cash from the targeted villas.”
“The team successfully uncovered the identities of four Latin American gang members actively participating in these thefts and break-ins,” he stated.
“The investigations revealed that the suspects entered the country with the explicit intent to commit thefts and left before the villa owners reported the burglaries. Additionally, international coordination revealed that the gang traveled to a Middle Eastern country, followed by a neighboring country via land ports,” Al Jallaf further elaborated.
The Return to Dubai
Drawing on their expertise in tracking and analyzing criminal gangs, the CID team was confident that it was only a matter of time before the suspects returned, particularly since they had traveled to Middle Eastern countries rather than their home countries. As a result, the gang was placed under very close surveillance.
Approximately a month later, the CID team successfully tracked the gang’s arrival in the country through the Oyoon Program. Instead of detaining them immediately, the suspects were allowed entry and placed under “the microscope” -close surveillance to monitor their movements. This strategy aimed to identify any additional individuals involved in the burglaries or providing logistical support within the country, as well as to locate where stolen items were concealed.
Al Jallaf emphasised that the CID team meticulously tracked the gang’s movements with round-the-clock surveillance. “Monitoring reports revealed that the four suspects visited car rental shops to rent a vehicle, facilitating their transportation between residential complexes to scout potential villas for burglary. After a brief period, they switched to another vehicle to avoid arousing suspicion during their reconnaissance. Nevertheless, they remained under “the microscope” of the investigation team,” he continued.
Al Jallaf explained that this time, the gang members were unsuccessful in burglarizing any residential villas, thanks to the precautionary measures implemented in residential complexes under the supervision of the Dubai Police and the Crime Prevention Department. These measures included deploying security guards, installing advanced CCTV cameras, installing lights in dark areas, and promoting community awareness to register in the ‘Home Security’ program overseen by the Force.
“After failing to burgle villas, the gang shifted their criminal focus to targeting bank clients carrying large sums of money. They zeroed in on a bank customer and managed to steal over AED 60,000 by puncturing the victim’s car tire, while another suspect quickly snatched the money from inside the vehicle. However, they were unaware that they were under police surveillance, which led to the gang members’ arrest while caught red-handed and the recovery of the stolen cash. During interrogations, they confessed to committing multiple thefts and burglaries in other countries they had visited,” Al Jallaf added.
The Dubai Police encouraged citizens and residents to subscribe to ‘Home Security’ service through the Dubai Police website or Smart App to enhance safety and security in the community.
Brigadier Muhammad Aqeel Ahli, Deputy Director of the General Department of Criminal Investigation for Search and Investigation Affairs, highlighted the ‘Home Security’ program’s significance as a preventive security service to protect the homes of citizens and residents while they are on vacations inside or outside the country so that the houses are monitored through CCTV cameras and sensors.
He also called on the owners of residential villas to the importance of installing CCTV cameras in their homes to enhance safety and security, in addition to not violating labor laws by hiring workers illegally, dealing with illegal maintenance workers or unlicensed companies, hiring unlicensed farmers to supervise home gardens, or hiring labors violating nationality and residency laws, which increases the chances of burglaries and thefts.
Al Jallaf advised bank clients to avoid carrying large sums of money when leaving the banks and instead use cash transport cars. He urged them to be vigilant, especially when taking sums of money and walking on main streets.
He also called on community members to contribute to enhancing safety and security and preventing crime by reporting suspicious activities through the “Police Eye” service available on Dubai Police Smart App or by calling Dubai Police’s non-emergency hotline (901) or (999) in case of emergency.