• The owners of the animal informed the cops about the incident
  • The man then falsely claimed the calf had wandered into his farmhouse
  • The camel calf was returned to its owners

A man, who allegedly stole a valuable rare camel calf to gift his girlfriend and spun a false story around the theft, was arrested in Dubai on Wednesday.

The owners of the baby camel reported the theft from their farm earlier this month, prompting police to search the area, Associated Press (AP) reported, citing local National newspaper.

The man himself called cops several days later and falsely claimed the camel calf had wandered into his farm, which is located some 1.9 miles from its owners’ farm, AP reported.

During interrogation, the unidentified man confessed to the cops that he trespassed on his neighbor’s farm to steal the camel to present it to his girlfriend as a gift. The man also admitted he settled for the calf after failing to capture an adult camel.

The camel was returned to its owners and the man was immediately taken into custody. He was facing charges of theft and making a false statement, AP reported.

Camels are highly regarded in Emirati culture, given the key role they play in transportation, food and entertainment for decades. They represent Emirati heritage and are an integral part of the country’s cultural practices. In fact, camel wool is also a profit-churning commodity in the country because it forms the base of many essential items, including clothes, rugs, and tents, Gulf News reported.

For centuries, camels have also been characterized as status symbols in the country. Owning the highest number of camels demonstrated a person’s enormous fortune.

In Dubai, a traveler can experience the iconic sunset camel ride while on desert safaris. The country even hosts a camel beauty pageant where wealthy traders pay millions of dollars for the most prized breed, Gulf News reported.

In a related incident, a camel shepherd of Pakistani origin was sentenced to three months in prison and ordered to be deported after he stole a camel worth $2,722.56 from its owner. The owner of the camel found the animal was missing from his farm in Al Hibab area and informed the authorities. The cops then contacted camel sellers in the market, who told them the stolen animal was on sale, following which the man was arrested for the theft.

A man uses his mobile phone as he rides a camel along a street in smoggy New Delhi
A man uses his mobile phone as he rides a camel along a street in smoggy New Delhi AFP / Jewel SAMAD