Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- Despite how cinematic this story may seem, the events took place in a well-known neighborhood of Riyadh. It is the story of a Saudi family who by pure chance hired a chauffeur who happened to be a member of a gang of thieves. It was thanks to the woman, who discovered that her newly appointed chauffeur was in fact the mastermind behind the gang, that the other 12 members were caught whilst committing such crimes. The Saudi woman cooperated with the police to entrap the gang one by one without harming any members of the family.
Umm Abdel Hameed retells her account of the story. She says, "When our chauffeur decided to take his annual vacation we asked him to find somebody to replace him temporarily until his return. He recommended a man called Abdel Rahman, of Sri Lankan origin, who was looking for work, so I asked my chauffeur to arrange a meeting to discuss the legal procedures concerning his salary and sponsorship."
She continues, "It was a promising start as he was an excellent driver and was committed to his job. After the first month, however, we noticed some bizarre changes in his behavior. He would take a whole hour to make a fifteen-minute journey or two hours for a one-hour journey, and when I questioned him about this, he would blame his delay on traffic. One night, he did not come home at all, and when I asked him about his whereabouts that night, he answered that he was with his friends and asked me to forgive him, reassuring me that it would not happen again."
Umm Abdel Hameed, continues to say, "My daughter once asked him to buy her a cellular phone of which the retail price was 2500 Saudi Riyals (SR). He informed her that one of his friends sells cellular phones at a cheaper price and when I heard this, I offered him 800SR for the phone and he accepted. At first, I wondered how he could sell this cellular phone for such an amount when it was worth triple this price. Little did I know that the real surprise was to come with the phone! We inserted the SIM card to find personal numbers and messages from a man to his fiancée saved on the phone, realizing that it was a stolen phone and not a new one as he had told us." She adds, "I called the number of one of the messages and a young woman answered. She told me her name and I informed her of how we obtained her number. She told me that her phone had been stolen along with valuable possessions worth 400,000SR, and two diamond watches, one of which was for men. She told me that the crime was committed by the two maids who were working for her at that time."
She continues, "When the woman described the two maids, I realized that one of them fitted the description of our previous chauffeur”s wife who I hired sometimes when I needed a maid. The other woman is related to her and works for me now. So, I came up with a plan with my daughter to have a conversation in the presence of the chauffeur in which she will tell me that she wants to buy a diamond watch. During the planned conversation I protested against her buying a diamond watch and our chauffeur disrupted the conversation to tell us of his friend who sells valuable watches at a reasonable price. I told him that if I agreed to buying one for my daughter, then her brother would have to have one as well so I would need one for men too. I added that I would like to see the watches before paying 10,000SR for both."
When Umm Abdel Hameed returned home, she instructed her husband to call the police. As soon as they were contacted, the security authorities informed her of their plan of arrest and ordered her not to take any of the stolen objects. They also instructed her to proceed with the plan of her buying the watch set.
She concludes the story by saying, "I promised the driver that I would buy the jewelry and he said that would bring his friend. Security officers were waiting outside and entered the house as soon as I informed them of their arrival. They were arrested and the jewelry was taken away. As for the two maids, I handed the one who was working for me over to the police. I called the other one at her place of work to tell her that her husband was sick and that he wanted to see her. One of the sons of another family brought her over immediately, where she was also handed over to the police who were waiting outside. She was arrested along with other members of the gang following investigations into their activities."