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Dubai Police Arrest Suspects Behind $1.9 Million Bitcoin Heist

Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:06 PM
Samburaj Das
Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:06 PM

Dubai police have apprehended a gang of ten individuals alleged to have stolen Dh7 million (approx. $1.9 million) from two victims in an armed theft involving the purchase of bitcoin.

The victims, incidentally two brothers, sought to buy bitcoin worth AED 7 million in a peer-to-peer exchange that saw ten individuals purporting to be sellers lure the duo to an office space before assaulting them and making away with the cash, the Gulf News reported over the weekend.

“The brothers searched randomly in the market to buy Bitcoin,” revealed Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at Dubai Police director Adel Al Joker. 

The gang of ten individuals conned a commercial shop owner in the Al Muraqabbat area in Dubai into procuring the keys for the premises after pretending to be interested in purchasing his office and an accompanying trade license, police revealed. At 8 PM on Wednesday last week, the brothers visited the office wherein six members of the gang were waiting inside while three others were outside guarding the entry in a transaction gone wrong.

“They assaulted the two brothers and threatened them before tying their hands and locking them inside the office and escaping with the money,” Lt. Col Al Joker added.

Dubai’s police command room was alerted to an armed robbery that night and, on the same night, reportedly identified the mastermind behind the robbery within four hours of the crime. The individual, who confessed to committing the robbery, was arrested in a neighbouring emirate while police tracked down the rest of the gang in four different emirates to arrest them and recover the money.

The swift arrests were possible thanks to the use of artificial intelligence and ‘smart programmes’, according to Major General Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, assistant commander-in-chief for criminal investigation affairs at Dubai Police.

While details of the AI implementation are scarce, the official stated:

Using AI helped Dubai Police to arrest a Gulf National, who is the head of the gang, and other Asian suspects. The information from the data analysis centre helped the officers to arrest all gang members.

Following their arrests, the ten suspects have been referred to public prosecutors.

Featured image from Shutterstock.