Dubai shop worker who tackled thief with Dh2.7m 'proud to make city safer'

Old parts of the city such as Deira and Naif have many stories where community heroes have stepped forward to help

Dubai Police CID chief Ibrahim Al Mansouri, left, pictured with Keshur Karu Chavda, centre right, and his shop manager, Nilesh Megchiani, centre, after foiling a Dh2.7m theft. Photo: Dubai Police
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A shop worker who stopped a thief from fleeing with Dh2.7 million ($735,190) in cash said he acted on the spur of the moment.

Keshur Karu Chavda, 32, who works in the Naif district of old Dubai, said he was walking in the area on October 26 when he heard two people shouting to stop a man who was running in his direction.

Mr Chavda said he saw the man had a bag in his hand.

“I really didn't get the time to think but I had an instinct that this man was doing something wrong,” he said.

“I ran towards the man and grabbed him.

I hit him on the chest, pushed him to the ground and held him tightly until others came to help
Keshur Karu Chavda

“He was nearly my size, so it wasn't easy to overpower him. I hit him on the chest, pushed him to the ground and held him tightly until others came to help.

“I took the bag and gave it back to the owners.”

Mr Chavda said Dubai Police officers were quickly at the scene and arrested the man, who has been referred to the public prosecution.

Dubai Police said he had watched two men carrying two bags containing currencies worth a total of Dh4.25m.

He grabbed one of the bags, only to be foiled by Mr Chavda, who said he was very happy he could help someone and save their hard-earned money.

“It was around Diwali time, the most auspicious time of the year for us Hindus, and I felt good after helping someone,” he said.

“It was the new year according to the Hindu calendar, and I thanked and prayed to God for giving me this chance to help.”

Mr Chavda says he felt proud after helping a man get his cash back. Photo: Keshur Karu Chavda

Mr Chavda was praised for his selfless act and, on Monday, police officers visited.

“They came to the shop and gave me a certificate of appreciation and a gift. It made me feel proud and happy. What I did was my duty towards society,” he said.

“It is a beautiful place. The UAE treats everyone equally, and the police try to make it safe for all people. I’m proud I could do something to make the city safer,” he said.

Mr Chavda's boss told The National that he was proud of his brave and honest employee.

“I praised him for his actions and told him what he did is a good thing. He is an honest and loyal person,” said Nilesh Megchiani, 51, the Indian owner of XPERT General Trading.

“He has been working with me for more than 12 years. He is like a brother to me.”

Local heroes

This was not the first time that a Naif shopkeeper has become a community hero.

The most recent was in August 2021, when four men caught a pregnant cat as she fell 10 metres from a balcony in Murar, Deira.

They caught her in a blanket after she hopped over a second-floor balcony and plunged to the street below.

Their rescue was captured on video by a shopkeeper and the footage went viral online.

It was shared by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai. He praised the men’s efforts. The three men and the shopkeeper were each awarded Dh50,000 by the Ruler for their actions.

In April, Indian Jaffer Parapurath stopped a thief from running off with stolen cash.

Mr Parapurath was at his uncle’s cafeteria in Deira’s Bani Yas when he saw the man trying to flee.

He tripped and caught the thief.

Story of the cat saved by community heroes in Dubai — in pictures

Updated: November 23, 2022, 12:53 PM