Take care: The police has cautioned bank customers to mind their money while withdrawing cash from banks and ATMs on Bank Street Image Credit: Abhishek Bachchan/XPRESS

Sharjah: From brazen daylight robberies to daring bag snatching incidents to the commonest of con jobs – nothing is spared in the bustling alleys of Sharjah’s Rolla area.

The hotbed though lies within meters of Rolla Mall and Rolla Square Park where top local and international banks line the Hisn Avenue that connects the park to the historic Al Hisn Fort diametrically opposite. It’s around this stretch, popularly known as Bank Street, where eight Afghans were arrested last fortnight for robbing people as they left banks or ATMs.

Another Afghan was arrested last July and three men were held months earlier. The men were caught robbing bank customers in the area. Police say the suspects employ the same mode of operation every time. They monitor customers who withdraw money and then rob them using different tricks.

In response to reports of customers being robbed outside banks, Sharjah Police launched an awareness campaign called ‘Caution is Our Duty’ last year.

However, there has been no let up in the robberies.

Last September XPRESS reported how Syed Younus Yousuf, 33, was robbed near a money exchange here..

The Indian was caught unawares when an African pushed his father before snatching Dh100,000 he was about to remit home. “We still can’t believe how the money vanished in a flash in such a busy area,” he said.

Another Indian man told XPRESS he lost Dh30,000 in the same place in a similar fashion last July. Many other incidents remain unreported and are spoken about in hushed tones.

“Some burglars broke into the car of a bank customer and fled through the narrow lanes with Dh50,000,” says Sudanese Saad Yaqoob, pointing to the escape route of the culprits from his seat at the exit of a car park near Standard Chartered Bank.

“Only last year, three people fled with Dh195,000. A man had just withdrawn the cash from the bank and was ready to leave when one of the three stopped him, saying there was an oil leak from his car and he must come and check. The other two sped off with the money left on his dashboard just as the man got out,” said a guard from a bank near the scene.


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