Bogus beggars with baby steal jewels from Oman home

MUSCAT // Two Arab women disguised as beggars got away with jewellery worth an estimated 12,000 rials (Dh 114,000) after they duped a maid into letting them into a private house, the theft victim said.

Judging from their accent, the women were not Omanis, the woman who was robbed said. One of them was carrying an infant. They rang the front door bell at 10pm last week and asked the housemaid to get them food. They said they have not yet broken their fast.

"While they were eating, one of them handed the baby to me and said she wanted to go to the bathroom. Since the toilet downstairs was under repair, I asked her to go to the first floor to use the bathroom there," the Sri Lankan housemaid told The National.

It appeared that the woman entered the bedroom of the owners, who were out shopping, and emptied the contents of the jewellery box in her handbag.

Almost immediately after that, the housemaid said, the women left. She did not suspect anything until her employers returned two hours later.

"Obviously they were not beggars but professional thieves targeting well-to-do families. All of them who come begging in our neighbourhood, especially in Ramadan, are women from other Arab states, not the Gulf countries," the owner of the stolen jewellery told The National.

Earlier this week, police warned that begging was increasing during Ramadan and urged people not to fall prey to clever thieves.

"Some of the beggars resort to fraud to beg. They try to convince people to help them with charitable donations. Such antisocial behaviour is alien to Islamic society in general and the Omani society in particular," said Sergeant Hamoud Al Zidi from the Royal Oman Police.

The police said that 295 beggars were arrested last year and the police have so far this year arrested more than 200 beggars.

Published: August 16, 2011 04:00 AM