A Qatar resident whose iPad and wallet were stolen out of her unlocked car while her nearly five-year-old daughter slept has spoken about her frightening experience to warn others not to be complacent with their safety.
Australian Katrina Hicks, who has lived in Qatar for 18 months, had been collecting her three-year-old daughter from Giggles Day Care in Al Gharafa just after 4pm yesterday.
Her older daughter had fallen asleep in the car and rather than wake her, Hicks said she left her, strapped into her car seat, while she ran in to collect her other child from the nursery.
When she returned to the car several minutes later, she found her older daughter screaming. Speaking to Doha News, Hicks said:
“She was hysterical. I asked her what had happened and she said, ‘a man opened my door and took my iPad.’ “
Hicks, who is a nurse at a school in Al Rayyan, said the iPad had been fixed to the back of the front passenger seat for her daughter to use, but the attachment had been torn from the seat and was gone.
She later found the holder discarded at a nearby bus stop, she added.
Her wallet had also been stolen from the front passenger seat of the car, where it had been sitting on top of her handbag, she said.
It is not clear who took the items.
The mother of two has reported the incident to the police, who have taken fingerprints of the car.
“They were fantastic. Really supportive and helpful, although they said it might take several weeks for any information,” she said.
Hicks added that the nursery is opposite a construction site, which closes at around 4pm. At the time of the robbery, there were around 20 men milling around, waiting for their transport. However, none of them have so far come forward as witnesses to the incident.
Yesterday, Hicks shared her story on Facebook, attracting some criticism for leaving her child unaccompanied in a car.
But the mother said she shared what happened to her because she wanted to warn other parents about crime in Qatar, so that they would not be complacent about their belongings, and especially their children.
“There is a belief that Qatar is safe. But things do happen here, although they are often not reported. I know other parents who leave their cars unlocked, often with siblings inside, while they drop-off or collect their other children.
I know in hindsight what I did was unacceptable but it was an action of complacency. I had been in Doha a little while and I got complacent. I would never have done what I did elsewhere. I thought my daughter was safe, but of course no child is safe in a car on their own. I am serious about my children and their safety.”
While Hicks said her daughter wasn’t physically injured in the incident, she is wracked with guilt over what happened.
“What I did was a mistake and I don’t think this is something that I will get over for a long time,” she added.
The manager of Giggles Day Care, Natasha Moorcroft, told Doha News she would be writing to all parents of children at the nursery today to advise them of the incident to warn them not to leave children or valuables in their vehicles, and to lock their cars, even if they are only away for a few moments.
Meanwhile, Doha College has today contacted all parents of pupils at its two campuses warning them that a number of students have been approached and followed by strangers in cars while walking home from the British school’s Al Waab campus.
Headmaster Mark Leppard said in an email to the school community:
“Despite (Doha) being extremely safe, we need to ensure we are vigilant and make our children aware… In the last few days it has been reported to the college that a couple of students walking home alone have been followed and even approached by strangers in cars.
The incidents that have been reported to us have taken place close to our Al Waab campus. The cars have approached students as they have walked past the crossing at Al Waab junction, opposite the American School of Doha and also on the road to the rear of JBK Compound.”
Leppard said that the incident has been reported to the authorities, but asked parents to advise their children of the potential dangers, and to report anything suspicious to the school management, recording the make of car and number plate if safe and possible to do so.
While the rate of reported crime in Qatar is relatively low related to other major cities internationally, incidents do occur.
Earlier this month, a British expat spoke out about a burglary at his standalone villa in Ain Khaled while his family was asleep upstairs, and warned residents to take basic precautions to secure the safety of their homes.
And in March last year, there was a spate of car break-ins around Doha. One resident, Annaline, told Doha News at the time about how her wallet was stolen from her unlocked car in broad daylight outside a nursery in Abu Hamour, while there are periodic reports of items stolen from cars outside schools and nurseries around town.
I skipped the article after reading two paragraphs. If we were in America child protection services would be at this mom’s door in an hr. How can you leave a young child alone in the car for a few minutes. What if the child woke up and did not find her mom? What if she locked her self in by mistake and you could not access the car. What if she got in the driver seat and out he car in gear by mistake. What if some monster decided not to go for your iPad but steal your car with your kid in it???
This is a parenting problem .., not a Doha one… you left your wallet and iPod (and child) in an unlocked car!! What did you expect to happen
A sentiment you could share on the Aqua Park drowning thread perhaps?
“You took your kids to a water park and left them to swim in a pool unsupervised. What did you expect to happen?”
Facebook journalism. Story copied from Facebook only with some more details….
Don’t know the story, but a kid in a pool unsupervised, thought dangerous, does not come close to leaving a child strapped in a car seat with the car running and doors unlocked
No disrespect meant but obviously it is.
Remind which kid is now dead?
Deleting out of respect for the family of the deceased.
Good point. Where is mummy and/or daddy I often ask myself.
Completely agree, what if someone had of taken the child rather than the Ipad. Irresponsible parenting.
For once I agree with all you say. I really don’t know what goes through some parents’ minds …. You cannot blame other people if you recklessly give them the opportunity, you have to take responsibility. This is absolutely not a Qatar problem.
You worry too much.
People wouldn’t follow kids if young people were allowed to have girl/boyfriends
@Bajn and that gives them the right to follow kids, first and foremost allowing ppl to have girl and boyfriends is a norm imposed on society and it is a particularly poor standard i might add i am guilty as well, but like the cliché goes “when you go to Rome do what the Romans do” you are in Qatar you ought to respect thier laws and traditions if you do not like it leave and go where you will be accommodated. Children have the right to be children no matter what, let me ask you a question if you had a child (which i doubt you do) i guess you would be happy to find that they are being followed on thier way back from school by STRANGERS?
I’m talking about the stalkers. If they had partners, they wouldn’t be out stalking.
Stupid comment. I am a married female in my 40’s and I have been followed by strangers on the pavement and by strangers in the car. I shout at them and if they still continue I get my phone out and say I am calling the police and walk into the nearest shop I can find. They then leave me alone
I meant if the stalkers had a friend, they wouldnt be stalking.
Deleting the rest of this thread because it is off-topic.
I’m new here, I thought that kind of thing never happened in sleepy Doha.
Many people don’t have partners, that doesn’t mean they turn into stalkers or worse. Wrong is wrong, no excuses.
Yes, but there would be fewer stalkers.
Many people don’t have partners because of the population ratio of 4 men to 1 woman in Qatar and the girls in Qatar thinking they should be treated special because they are some kind of award and various other factors that builds up their egos… hence the boys turn into stalkers, monsters, rapists, pedophiles etc… here. This has been going on for years, specially when I was in school we saw all kinds of stalkers driving fancy cars outside the school trying to get attention from the girls and the girls would enjoy it and play hard to get. Funny thing was most girls in my school were ugly but their egos were touching the sky lol.
I guess you deserve the award for the most obnoxious commentator on DN forums. A lot of your comments are racist and sexist and very judgmental. Seems more like a childish rant.
You see what you want to see. I am very judgmental and critical, but don’t make things up. I defend races as much as I criticize them, do a proper research before personally attacking people.
Er, what strange logic. If you can’t get a bf/gf you become a paedophile. Is there something you need to tell us about your past?
Haven’t you watched any serial killer movies? Why is that you have to come out with a personal attack first? Are you sure you are not violating your bail conditions by accessing the internet?
Cause movies = real life ? Serial killers or paedophiles have no correlation to having a partner or not. Your logic is deeply flawed.
I don’t think rapists care if the person has a girl/boyfriends.
Another commentor failing to read and understand.
Well then please enlighten
Read my previous posts
It just says if young people were allowed to have girl/boyfriends no one would follow them. I stand by my comment, a rapist doesn’t care. In Qatar every girl has a boy friend or 2, no matter how conservative they are they have had someone in their lives. The problem is there will still be more stalkers because of the imbalance in population ratios.
It says if you had a partner, you wouldn’t be out stalking kids or adults. Are you sure you can speak 10 languages?
This is the stupidest comment I’ve ever read on DN! All around the world people are allowed to have BFs/GFs yet rape, murder, pedophilia exist abundantly! You are the kind of people that look for any opportunity to bash Qatar..you my friend are better off living somewhere else, for your sake!
Wrong; being a pedophile has nothing to do with having a partner!
and this is based on what data?
That is the most stupid comment I have come across. Take the case of India. It has some of the biggest red light areas in the world. But has a huge rape problem. According to your logic, they should have few incidences of rape.
Ok, zigzag, why do you think the Porsche driving rich kids go honking after women on the streets? Just because everyone is calling my comment stupid, you thought you could jump in? What is your analysis?
Obviously he broke-in for the wallet, and took the iPad anyway. Valuables shouldn’t be at sight at least!
I also live near Doha college and I am an Adult and I have been approach at least 10 times by cars while I was about to cross the road. Cars usually slow down, Horn and flash their lights. These cars are usually illegal Taxi and they are looking for customers. I think that’s what happened with the Doha college pupils. So there is no danger.
well it’s great that at least you seem convinced that there is no danger
Leaving you wallet and ipad, or similar things in your car is stupid enough, but to leave your child?! And the car wasn’t even locked!
Doesn’t matter how safe any city is, all it takes is one time to ruin your life and that of your kids.
I follow a simple rule. Take the same precautions here as you would back home. Would she have left her child and valuables in an unlocked car in Australia? I doubt it. There is crime everywhere. Even in Qatar….
“Take the same precautions here as you would back home” Exactly. Thank you.
In fact, I’d say people should be even a bit more cautious here than back home when in public places, simply because you are not familiar with the existing risks here, and maybe unable to spot them.
All i wanna say is
Yes, information shared on Facebook by residents is sometimes a source of news. Not sure why this bothers people 🙂
It’s okay; being arguably the most popular news source, the critics will sometimes nitpick. Don’t let bother you 😉
News Source or Gossip Magazine? I doubt.
Any Information is always appreciated. I’m actually sad if Doha News doesn’t post several articles within a day. And especially happy on controversial topics as it is interesting to see the comments of people, whether comical or toxic.
Don’t let people let you and your team down. They’re just grumpy that they haven’t been interviewed.
Are you one among those who visit DN only to read comments?
No. I read the articles to get to know what’s happening in Doha. The comments are just the icing in the cake, reading too much of it will only kill me – as an individual who respects people.
And as you can see, I don’t post in every article of Doha News. I don’t have that masochistic / sadistic tendencies, that other people tends to have.
Because it’s anecdotal, you journalist you.
But wait, Qatar is safe compared to all those evil western countries. This must be the racist Western media trying to make Qatar look bad.
People in this country are idiots. They leave their cars running when they pop into the shops and give lame excuses like its so hot in the summer and the car takes a long time to cool down when I get back in.
This woman should be arrested for child negilence. What are you thinking leaving a kid on its own, Qatar is no different to other societies, paedophiles exist and your kid could have been abducted.
2015 Mom’s award will be handed out early this year
Pop into the shops? didn’t they have horns for that? lol. But yea you’re right.
“But wait, Qatar is safe compared to all those evil western countries. This must be the racist Western media trying to make Qatar look bad.” A bit over the top 😉
However, I do agree with the rest of your sentiment; the way many people let their guard down and become so careless when they move here just boggles the mind.
Is not safe here
It’s not safe anywhere.
Not true, I’d feel pretty safe from crime in a scientic station in Antartica on my own. (well unless the Americans decided to bomb me)
But what about the penguins
What about a possible alien temple under the ice? Or a mutating predatory alien life form?
Good point. Wasn’t that an x files movie
The Thing? No, it is a classic sci-Fi horror movie from 1982, with a really good prequel released 2011.
I think this mom is very brave for stepping forward and using her experience to teach others. She even admits she wouldnt do it again and people still take the opportunity to bash her. None of us as parents are perfect. I know when my kids were little there were times when I knew I’d only be a few secs running in and out so I left my sleeping baby in car for whatever reason rather than wake the child up and then have to deal with juggling a crying infant and other toddlers I was just picking up. It takes a lot of guts and maturity to say “i made a mistake and now I want to warn others.” So let’s all applaud her for this and have some understanding for the challenges and exhaustion that parents of young children sometimes feel.
Couldn’t agree more, good on her for exposing herself to the criticism of the online warriors in the hope that her shared story might protect someone else’s child.
She’s going to buy her kid another Ipad and move on. Lesson learned, it was very brave of her to do something shameful and admit her mistake in public… really? She’s wrong at many levels not just leaving the kid in the car, that’s something major and she deserves criticism for doing something really stupid but that’s later first its about giving the 4 year old kid an ipad!
Exactly, You wrote what’s on my mind, even when she’s admitted her fault openly people try to push the matter beyond a limit that it seems except her all others are PERFECT parents in such cases, how many of you can HONESTLY say that you haven’t committed same or similar kind of act in your past!
Photos for illustrative purpose are deceiving. I was wondering if the car was unlocked then why was the glass broken. Secondly kids shouldn’t be allowed to have Ipads and tablets at young ages, when we were growing up my parents made sure we sat far away from the TV to protect our eyes and today 3 year old kids are walking around with Ipads as if its a toy. Next generation is going to be one lifeless generation.
“20 men milling around…” ok so lets see, it couldn’t be a mother of a jealous child who came to pick up their child, it couldn’t be a kid from that nursery, or a random person, it has to be men from the construction site, just because they are poor and men so lets assume and accuse them of being unethical robbers… how about that? people are seriously sick in this country! and what was she doing in the nursery for “Several minutes” ? like it shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes to pick someone up.
There are 2 cases mentioned in the article about “Unlocked Cars” well if you don’t want your stuff to be stolen, the car manufacturers have provided you with “LOCKS” you may wanna learn how to use them and it’s not rocket science. If you don’t take basic precaution, then don’t complain.
“She was hysterical. I asked her what had happened and she said, ‘a man opened my door and took my iPad.”
This is not a news worthy story, its a drama caused by an irresponsible, sexist and prejudice parent who doesn’t care about the well being of their child and takes things for granted. By well being I don’t mean leaving the child in the car, I mean providing Ipads to 5 year old kids.
Deleting for personal attack.
Children use ipad’s within primary school from a very young age, this is the future for our children and the sooner they learn how to use them the better.
And some how that is suppose to be ok? Children are not suppose. Might as well hand 3 year old children knives to play with.
Ali, I am disappointed by your statements. The lady did not say the men on the site took it she said that they were around but there were no witness statements from them. My son is only 3 and he has an iPad and uses it correctly. Does that make me a bad parent.
The 20 men part was misleading, no one came forward… as “witness” why would they? why mention 20 men? It was misleading because the sentence kept beating around the bush and then concluded with “witness”. I agree it’s my fault for not reading the whole sentence but I didn’t bother because it was misleading to begin with.
No offence but in a way yes, a baby is not suppose to use screens. Apple or Samsung etc.. wont take responsibility if (God Forbid) your child loses his eyes. Parents should do a deep research on how safe are tablets for kids, It’s a matter of their health.
Shut up all
Deleting for telling everyone to shut up.
Seriously ? LOL
DohaNews why are you conflating these two stories? The first story is about an irresponsible parent. The DC one is anecdotal and completely unrelated. This kind of scaremongering is very unhelpful and just stokes the expat rumour mill.
The first story is about a thief so brazen he would even scare a small
child. The second story is about many children walking around thinking
they are in relative safety, being so near to their safe haven of
school, with paedophiles in their midst. Lets stoke the expat rumour
mill so all our children are safe!
Mrs.Hicks is brave enough to tell her story. Her ultimate objective why she shared this incident is to warn others not to be complacent, that things like this do happened here. She left her child in the car with the simple thought that the place is safe and would be back in minutes. This is not to justify her actions, because I know from the start what she did is not appropriate. She just want to warn others, no more no less. Dunno why others here cannot comprehend.
Well I must be a really bad parent because I remember leaving my daughter asleep in the back of our car in the driveway of the house. We also left her asleep in her pram downstairs in the kitchen after some bad nights when she wouldn’t sleep and we ended up walking around the neighbourhood in the early hours of the morning. To all of the people criticising this poor parent, can you honestly say that you have never left your child unsupervised at any time in their life?
Qatar is a relatively safe place to live (I saw an unattended supermarket trolleys with a handbag in it yesterday) and you can easily forget that there are some who will take advantage of this.
I moved to Qatar in 1998, yes, a long time ago. Yes, it is safe, relative to other places in the world, but opportunistic theft is always going to happen. In our early days in Q, there were minor thefts, break-ins when people were asleep upstairs, and random petty crimes. Let’s not make a big deal of this. This women did a dumb thing, which she now readily admits. You don’t leave valuables in easy sight in an unlocked car. And you don’t leave a sleeping child in an unlocked car either. Think she learned her lesson, and luckily she lives in a country with little car theft. Now THAT would have been really bad.
Yeah you know what you are right. Her kid didn’t get taken and those guys at Villagio who got 6 years for the deaths of 19 people, they didn’t mean it either. They’ve learned their lesson, we should let them get on with their lives.
The moment someone says something good about Qatar it irks you doesnt it? Any good reference on Qatar burns your a**e.
I’m appalled at the level of criticism of this woman. It is tough bringing up kids and often parents have to make decisions on the spur of the moment. A lot of expats don’t have extended families here to help. A lot of women are expected to just “get on with it” while the husband is off at work. We all make risk assessments all the time and sometimes they don’t pay off. Obviously a lot of people leave their houses open and cars unlocked in Doha and with most people here to work there is clearly more motivation to earn money most of them are doing so rather than risking imprisonment or deportation. Day to day the level of petty crime certainly appears to be less on the street than it is in many major cities around the world. This woman made a choice and it didn’t pay off. She was big enough to go public in the interest of informing others. Have a little respect.
Leaving your car unlocked and unattended is one thing; leaving it with a sleeping child is a whole different level. You can recover from having your car or the goods in it stolen. However, had something worse happened to the child, how will you recover from it?!!
Spot on, sums it up very well
I would respectfully disagree. I think in many circumstances it may be reasonable to leave your child in an unlocked car momentarily. The world is going mad. It’s like those parents in the US who arrested for letting their kids walk to the park.
We are creating a climate of fear. It is very very very rare for children to get abducted by someone other than their own immediate relatives. Children getting killed because they’re not in a car seat – that is altogether another matter.
Did you miss the story about the parent who left the baby sleeping in the car and the baby died of asphyxiation?
This wasn’t a baby, the kid didn’t die and it wasn’t even hot. What’s your point?
My point is, dont leave kids unsupervised. There was a 4 year old kid who died in the school bus also. Cruel as it may sound, Darwins theory of evolution is always at play.
Unless I’m breaking the law I’m not really sure it’s any of your business what i do with my kids. There are plenty of people not sticking their kids in car seats. Your concern may be of more use there. What you have said doesn’t sound cruel but it does sound like an inappropriate and simplistic reference to Darwin’s theory which has nothing to do with this situation.
Yeah, none of my concern. Nature has a way of weeding out the weak and stupid by itself. I dont support baby seats not being used in cars. Has nothing to do with leaving kids unsupervised.
Clearly nature does not.
Lol. Nice burn. Have a nice weekend.
Lol. Nice burn. Have a nice weekend.
The point is leaving a five years old in an unlocked car running, with your purse and wallet visible, is a perfect recipe for a disaster.
Do you have the same feeling about people who take the risk on the roads here when they drive recklessly? I sure don’t!
Stealing can’t ever be justified. Yes the mum made a mistake by leaving her sleeping child in the car but try and separate that from making it almost ok to steal something that’s not yours just because it’s easy! My child has had two bikes stolen within the last 6 weeks! So obviously there are some people here who do take what is rightfully NOT theirs….these people are called criminals and don’t deserve to be walking around freely.
It’s always bad habit to leave children inside car, either locked or unlocked. They are your own children, how can you be such careless ?
Wallet and iPad in plain sight, in an unlocked car, seriously. We are lucky to live in a very safe country, however, there’s only so much temptation you can put in a person’s path. Stupidity was the catalyst for this opportunistic theft.