Organised gangs target Bahrain jewellers
Manama, November 10, 2011
Bahrain Jewllery traders say organised gangs of women disguised in traditional Arabic clothes are targeting shops at Gold City in Manama.
It has prompted appeals for more protection following a spate of robberies over the past few weeks.
Items worth more than BD40,000 ($106,383) have been lifted from three shops on the ground floor of the centre, including gold chains, watches and diamond sets.
Shopkeepers told our sister newspaper, the Gulf Daily News, yesterday that they were being preyed on by organised gangs using children, sign language and traditional Arabic clothing to pull off heists.
However, it is understood there were no arrests as of yesterday despite forensic teams dusting for fingerprints.
In the latest incident on Tuesday, two women with their faces covered stole BD15,000 ($39,894) worth of gold and diamond sets from Chemmanur Jewellers.
It followed a similar incident at Arihant Jewellers on Friday, in which covered women stole gold chains worth BD25,000 ($66,489).
On October 1, two Arab men are said to have stolen a watch worth BD3,000 ($7979) from Sky Jewellers.
All three robberies happened during mid-afternoon and CCTV footage has been forwarded to authorities.
'We need more police presence, especially after these daylight robberies,' one shop owner told the GDN.
'Two women wearing niqab (face veils) stole jewellery worth BD25,000 ($66,489) and kept it under their abayas (Arabic robes).'
He said he believed the women were professionals and used sign language to communicate.
'They were wearing niqab, which makes it difficult to recognise their identity,' he said.
'There is no news of any arrest by the police. We definitely need private security to guard the premises in case the Interior Ministry does not deploy more policemen.'
Another shop owner revealed a group of women were suspected of the heists, saying they visited shops with children and wore gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints.
He added they also spoke fluent Arabic and Hindi.
'This group also robbed a gold shop in old Manama last week,' he said. 'They are fully covered and enter shops with children.'
Gold City attracts hundreds of shoppers daily and consists of more than 100 specialised retail shops, offering assorted gems, gold and diamond jewellery.
Police have appealed for traders to immediately report any thefts and share any information they can about suspects.
'We have asked all gold traders in Manama and other areas to inform the police about theft suspects so that immediate action is taken,' said an Interior Ministry official yesterday.
They added that investigations into the jewellery thefts were ongoing.
'We have handed out photographs of the suspects to police stations and officers handling the case,' said the official. 'These photographs were available from CCTV footage provided to us by the store owners.'
The official pledged that the culprits would be brought to justice. 'We are taking necessary legal procedures and cannot reveal further details,' they said.
'Suspects whose description matches the CCTV footage will be arrested whenever they are located,' he said. – TradeArabia News Service