A gang blamed for four daring armed robberies of more than Dh1 million from armored trucks in mid-December has been arrested by Sharjah Police.
The highly organised gang — in the UAE on visit visas — plotted a string of orchestrated attacks and then ambushed armored trucks delivering boxes of money to automated teller machines (ATMs) and at least one cash exchange outlet in Sharjah.
The suspects attacked the guards moments after the latter had removed cash boxes from their armoured vehicles on routine delivery routes to refill cash machines, police said on Wednesday.
The robberies took place at an ATM of Dubai Commercial Bank on King Abdul Aziz Street, an ATM in Al Safeer Mall in Al Nahda area, an ATM in Muweilah area and a money exchange office near National Paints.
The gang of 20 men hailing from Africa are now behind bars and awaiting their first court appearance, police told reporters at a press conference here on Wednesday.
The police confirmed that only a portion of the money stolen by the gang had been recovered, as the gang members divided the rest of the booty among them and transferred their shares to their home countries. Three of the robberies occurred in one day, police said.
On Wednesday, officials revealed details of the police operation code-named ‘Clear Justice’ which included three major crimes, two murders and one armed robbery.
In the armed robbery case, police said the suspects were taken into custody in cooperation with the police in Dubai, Ajman and Fujairah.
The gang committed the heists at busy times of the day when streets were crowded with people which helped them to create confusion, said people.
The high-profile gravity of the crime saw top police officials attending the press conference including Colonel Mohammad Rashid Bayat, director of Sharjah Police Operations; Colonel Ebrahim Al Ajel, director of Criminal and Investigation Department; Major Mohammad Al Shamsi, head of the investigation; and Colonel Arif Bin Hudeib, head of Media and Public Relations Department.
Police pointed out that in each attack, assailants hit hard and fled quickly before police arrived. The attackers, however, did not evade security cameras.
Police said they were able to recognize the attackers through surveillance camera footage captured at the exchange house and at a mall.
Video footage showed the suspects drubbing the security guards and making off with the stolen cash.
In one robbery, assailants slashed the hand of a security guard with a knife and ran away with boxes of money.
Police believe the suspects had monitored and tracked the armored trucks moving the money for a period of time before launching the attacks.