The arrest of an Asian woman who had stolen thousands of dollars worth of goods off of pilgrims during Hajj has sparked fears of a pickpocketing epidemic at the Kaaba.
It seems baffling that at the Kaaba in Mecca, one of the world’s most recognized holy sites, theft is an issue that continues to plague many devout pilgrims.
On Monday, undercover officers working under the Grand Mosque special forces, apprehended an Asian woman who had managed to pick pocket thousands of dollars worth of goods. Using a razor blade as a tool, unnamed women allegedly stole from pilgrims while they performed the Tawaf (circling the Kabaa).
According to commander of the Grand Mosque Special Forces Maj. Gen. Yahya Musaed Al-Zahrani the alleged thief was caught by police carrying $2,500, two mobile phones, and 50,000 Iranian riyals in her possession.
The news of theft in Makkah is not new, as every year incidents are reported. Last year 25 Nigerians were arrested for stealing. “The thieves robbed pilgrims inside the Grand Mosque and broke into several shops and houses in Makkah. Several members of the gang were nabbed red-handed and they guided the police to other members who were hiding in an old building on Al-Mansour St. 80 cell phones and over SR50,000 in currency was seized,” the report said.
Although authorities were able to catch the perpetrators, there is still reason to be concerned as the trend of stealing in one of the holiest places during one of the holiest times continues.
Hajj hasn’t even officially started and they have already nabbed a pickpocket. With over 2 million people expected to attend this year, there is no shortage of marks for would-be thieves. If you know anyone attending or will be there yourself, then we suggest taking measures so that you won’t end up a victim.
We aren’t exactly sure why Muslims are bringing a lot of money and phones on their person as they perform religious traditions, but if you want to prevent the loss of valuables we suggest finding accommodations that provide a safe, as apparently nothing is sacred, even during Hajj.