Maria Nikiforova
Maria Nikiforova Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Following an alleged burglary attempt, a Ukranian woman living in Dubai is searching for the man who broke into her plush villa in Jumeirah Park two weeks ago.

Maria Nikiforova, 32, who lives in Dubai with her husband and two daughters, said she has been scanning videos recorded on her security cameras inside the villa to find the perpetrator and report the person to Dubai Police.

In an email statement, developer Nakheel confirmed the incident occurred in Jumeirah Park. A spokesperson told Gulf News: “Safety and security are paramount at our communities. We are aware of the reported incident and continue to review the security requirements at Jumeirah Park, including taking steps to increase security where appropriate.”

In the last week three, other break-in incidents were reported in the community and in one instance, the villa owner claimed the prowler fled the scene after hearing the occupant’s dogs bark.

What happened?

Nikiforova said the family left for a vacation on December 13. They returned a week later to find their kitchen door and window ajar. There were footprints on the kitchen counter and floor too.

She said, “I never leave my kitchen door unlocked. I remember securing it before I left. Obviously someone used this door.”

The Jumeirah Park resident said she fitted security cameras inside her villa and this was perhaps the reason why the prowler must have fled without picking anything valuable from her house.

“I had left a Gucci bag on the kitchen counter. I usually leave valuable [things] around the house... thinking an incident like this will not happen. But going forward I am going to be careful,” she added.

Jumeirah Park Burglary
Ukranian expat Marie Nikiforova said she and her family left on vacation in the wee hours of December 13. They returned a week later to find their kitchen door and window ajar. There were footprints on the kitchen counter and floor too. Someone broke into her villa Image Credit: Supplied

Nikiforova said the prowler perhaps saw the blue light from the security camera flashing in the night and left the scene.

“He definitely got in from the kitchen window as the foot prints are all over the counter and floor. But looking at the blue light he probably wanted to make a quick dash outside and therefore used the kitchen door for a quick exit.”

“I am still checking the footage from my camera. Hopefully I will find the person who entered the house. Once I do I will give the video to Dubai Police who can do the needful to arrest the person. The perpetrator needs to be stopped,” she said.

More break-ins

Meanwhile, two other residents in the area claimed their houses were broken into.

Scottish expat Fiona Bonner said her house had a break-in attempt on December 15 early morning.

She said, “It was really early in the morning, around 4.30 am, when my dogs started barking. I was woken up. I came downstairs and saw my front gate was open. The kitchen window was open too. I called my husband and we scanned the house but the prowler had fled. The kitchen windows are sliders and easy to open if you don’t fasten it in the night. I advise everyone to lock it tightly before going to bed.”

Bonner lives in a three-bedroom villa in Jumeirah Park on a leasing basis. She [Bonner] said her dogs scared the prowler away.

Jumeirah Park
An example of how some residents are further securing their windows and glass doors by placing wooden bars on the edge of the sliders. This way prowlers will not be able to break-in Image Credit: Supplied

Location of some villas attracting prowlers

Nikiforova who lives in a four-bedroom villa said her house fronts a lake side.

She said, “There is a small walk [walkway] behind our villa. I can see people walking, running taking their dogs out everytime. A number of blue-collared workers also come here to rest and relax. Many of them are free on Fridays and I see them lazing around on these walks."

However, she claimed that easy visibility could be a reason for the alleged break-in.

"Villas on this side are particularly attractive for prowlers to break in, especially if they know the lights of the villa are out for consecutive days. This indicates people are travelling and they try to break into the villa,” she explained.

What next?

From a security perspective she called for more cameras to be located around the back of the community fronting the lakeside. “That part of the community is not gated. It is an open area where anyone can walk around. Cameras should be fitted here. We do have security patrolling here but it is not enough. We would like it to happen more frequently.”

Other new Dubai communities like The Lakes, Meadows and Palm Jumeirah have seen a spate of burglaries.

On October 20, The Dubai Court of First Instance sentenced a gang of four men to three years in jail, followed by deportation, for breaking into a villa at Palm Jumeirah and stealing Dh219,000 worth of valuables.

The men from Kyrgyzstan confessed that they visited Dubai with a plan to steal money and valuables from villas in the emirate.

According to official records, they went to the Palm after midnight in February this year, fully-equipped with tools for their heist. They broke into an unoccupied villa from the balcony where they found three safes inside a room. They broke the safes and found valuable items, including Rolex watches worth Dh219,000, and then flew out of Dubai the same day.

The gang left the valuables with a woman, who is still at large, and coordinated with a 31-year-old countryman to collect the items from her to smuggle it out of the UAE for $900 (Dh3,305).

Dubai Police arrested the fourth defendant and recovered part of the stolen valuables.