Ordinarily, a story about bike theft in a far-flung country isn’t something that would get the pulses racing in the road.cc newsroom – but, when it comes with the headline, Dubai community rejoices as cops nab bicycle thief, we decided that this time it warranted further investigation, and we weren’t disappointed.
It’s a story that brings together a local Facebook group, a quick and efficient response by the police and, following a classic sting operation, the apprehension of a serial bike thief and leaves us feeling a bit wistful that many police forces here are unable to be so responsive when receiving a report of a stolen bike.
The tale begins with Ambika Tyagi, who lives in the Al Furjan gated community a couple of kilometres south of the UAE city’s marina, deciding to check her husband’s bike was still outside their home after learning through a Facebook group that a number of her neighbours had been victims of bike theft, reports Khaleej Times.
She said: “It was only after I read those messages that I realised I had not checked on my husband’s bike that was kept in our driveway for a few days.
“My husband’s mother had gifted him a new bicycle in December on his birthday and he would ride it daily. But since he had gone to India on January 30 this year, I had not checked on his bike until February 5 when I read those messages on the community group. To my utter horror, I found his bike missing. It didn’t have a lock on it as it was kept next to our cars, right outside our door.”
CCTV footage showed the thief taking the bike from the villa’s driveway one evening at 10.30pm, and after Mrs Tyagi reported the theft, the police arrived within half an hour.
“It was my first interaction with the Dubai Police and I was amazed at their agility and confidence as the officers reassured me that they will catch the culprit soon and that I need not worry,” she said.
Officers discovered the stolen bike being offered for sale online and, posing as prospective purchasers, contacted the seller and arrested him after they found him in possession of the bike.
He subsequently confessed to having stolen other bikes from the Al Furjan development, all of which were recovered by police and returned to their owners, one of whom, posting to the Facebook group, said: “Our bicycle that was stolen on January 31 is back home … Unbelievable work done by Dubai Police and CID. Kudos to them for doing their job so promptly and professionally.”
Mrs Tyagi added: “We were so impressed with the efficiency and intelligence of the Dubai Police as they managed to apprehend the thief in just a matter of three or four days and helped solve a problem our community has been facing for several months now.
“I was happy as I broke the news on our community group and so many people benefited out of this one complaint.”
In the United Arab Emirates, the punishment for theft is a fine, or a jail sentence of between six months and three years.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.