Dubai-based family accuses Sri Lankan domestic help of theft

A family in Dubai have accused their domestic help of stealing jewellery and other luxury items worth over Dh600,000 from their villa in Al Garhoud.

According to the family, the Sri Lankan help was arrested in his home country last month, following which they were able to recover 10 per cent of the stolen goods, Khaleej Times reported.

Manorama Yerra and her husband Venkat Narain Baba Yerra, Dubai residents since 1980, claimed that the houseboy stole Dh610,516 worth of jewellery, watches and electronic equipment from a closed room while the family travelled to India for a short break.

The accused also allegedly took Manorama’s credit card and made cash withdrawals amounting to Dh56,716 and purchased gold worth Dh8,364 in Sri Lanka. The Dubai Police have launched an investigation. As per the police report at the Rashidiya station, they were alerted about the theft at 8am on November 1.

“A police patrol was immediately dispatched to the scene, and investigations showed that the Sri Lankan houseboy was working with the plaintiff Manorama Yerra, an Indian-Canadian citizen,” the report said. “The thief, having known that his sponsor would leave the country on a two-day leave … stole expensive jewellery and watches from a safe in the house.”

Manorama said a lot of the jewellery he allegedly stole held an “emotional value” for the family. “Some of it belonged to my grandmother; some were for my daughter.”

Manorama left for India on a two-day trip on October 28, leaving Dh1,500 with the suspect. “When I returned home at 7am, I could not find him home,” she said. When she opened her locked bedroom, she found an earring and a diamond under the safe.

She said she found the safe empty. “He must have duplicated the keys to my safe and bedroom without my knowledge,” said Manorama. The police report said the suspect stole eight luxury watches worth around Dh65,500. Some fingerprints that matched the suspects were lifted from the crime scene.

The Yerra family met the accused in the first week of July. “He was referred to me by someone we know. An agent had cheated him, and he was stranded here without a job or a visa. I decided to help him out by employing him.”

The family gave the suspect accommodation and food. “We treated him like family. When his mother was sick, he left for Sri Lanka on July 22. Back then, I helped him pay for his mother’s treatment.”

The family had left him on his own a month prior to the theft when they travelled to London and Chennai for work-related trips. Over time, the help won the trust of the family with his “sweet, caring” nature”.