DUBAI // A gang of five Chinese men who stole watches worth more than Dh800,000 from a villa in Umm Suqeim were each sentenced to three years in jail.
The men, aged between 24 and 38, denied burglary charges when they appeared at Dubai Criminal Court.
But all five were found guilty and sentenced to prison to be followed by deportation.
The incident happened on July 14 last year when the villa’s Emirati owner was out of the country with his family. He returned two days later to find a safe in his bedroom had been broken into.
“The safe contained 13 valuable watches, Dh60,000 in cash, US$2,000 and £1,000 – it was all gone,” said the 30-year-old, who called police to report the theft.
A week later he was contacted by officers who asked him to come to the criminal investigations department to identify his belongings after the men had been arrested and some of his belongings retrieved.
“We received tip-offs that Chinese men were involved in the theft and our investigations led to the arrests of the five in a sting operation,” said a police captain, adding that the men confessed during questioning.
They told officers they were walking in the area and noticed the villa was unlit.
“They said one rang the doorbell to make sure no one was home then the rest climbed over the wall and gained entry to the living room after they found its door unlocked,” the captain said.
Some of the stolen items were found in the homes of two of the defendants.