How a stolen mobile phone helped cops to bust interstate mobile theft racket

Submitted by Kumuda on Tue, 2016-11-29 19:27 Bengaluru: The North Division Police recovered 400 phones worth Rs 40 lakh after they tracked down a stolen mobile phone to bust an interstate mobile theft and disposal racket, on Tuesday.  In fact, the Vidyaranyapuram police were alerted when a stolen mobile phone that was reported at their police station became active in Palakkad in Kerala. Soon, a team led by Inspector Puneeth Kumar tracked down the user who confessed that he had purchased the phone from a commercial area in Palakkad. This led the police to zero in on Subair, (43), a second hand mobile phone dealer at Palakkad who not only confessed to the crime but also handed over as many as 400 phones which he had purchased from his contact Arif Pasha, (40) from Goripalya on Mysuru Road. Arif runs a gang to steal mobile phones from passengers in public transport. The police rushed back to the city and nabbed Arif Pasha, who confessed that he was running the racket for the past one year.  Explaining the modus operandi, Labhu Ram, Deputy Commissioner of Police said that the gang would work in group. Interestingly, if any of their associates was caught by the crowd, they would beat their own associate. They also would drag that person from the crowd on the pretext of handing him over to the police. The gang members would get commission based on the phone’s model. Arif would sell phones in grey markets in Tamil Nadu and Kerala using his contacts. "We were lucky that the phone number which was tracked down by the Vidyaranyapuram police was not tampered with IMEI number", Labhu Ram said. Now, after exposing the racket, the police have a herculean task of identifying the owners of these stolen mobile phones.  Senior police officials held a meeting with mobile phone repairers and warned them that law will catch up with them if they found involved in dealing with stolen phones in the grey market. A police intelligence report suggested that despite efforts to crack down on gangs, the sale of stolen mobile phones to neighbouring States remains unchecked. “This is being done with the help of mobile phone repair shops that change the IMEI numbers and unlock smart phones for a price ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000,” said a police officer. Such tampered phones stolen in Bengaluru are then sold in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. P Harishekharan, Additional Commissioner of Police (East), who held a meeting with the mobile phone mechanics and shopkeepers, told them that they could be booked under abetment to anti-social activities if caught. The police have also asked the shopkeepers to help them nab gangs that specialise in mobile phone theft, if they come across