Guns and knives will always have their appeal to criminals, but some thieves are turning chili powder into a hot weapon as well.
Case in point: the man in Mussafah, Abu Dhabi, who, while posing as a jewellery shop customer, threw chilli powder at the salesmen before fleeing with gold ornaments worth around $4,300.
The thief initially visited the shop on Sunday night and selected the items he wanted before telling the salesmen he was going back home the next day for his wedding, according to GulfNews.com.
The next morning, he showed up, and, according to the salesmen, threw chili powder at them and ran away with the ornaments.
One of the salesmen, Aneesh, told GulfNews.com: “My eyes were totally filled with the chilli powder, there was severe pain and I could not see anything at all.”
The other worker wasn't as impaired because, luckily, he was wearing glasses.
The suspect, who was described as a South Asian in his late twenties or early thirties, wearing loose pants and shirt, got away, but police found a plastic cover from the chili powder with a sticker from a nearby supermarket and were able to identify the thief using that store's security cameras.
The United Arab Emirates isn't the only place where chili pepper is a hot weapon for crime.
Last month, police in Nagpur, India, arrested four members of a gang whose M.O. was to fling chili powder on their victims' and then snatch cash and other valuables at knife point, according to The Times Of India.
It goes both ways though.
Farmers in Tanzania, who are being forced to deal with rebounding elephant populations coming onto their land and eating up their crops, have had good results dealing with the thieving pachyderms by rubbing chili peppers mixed with engine oil on to their fences.