713 stolen phones recovered as cops bust gang of thieves in Hyderabad

Hyderabad Desk

Hyderabad: A gang allegedly involved in cell phone thefts and smuggling was busted here with the apprehension of 31 people, including a Sudanese national, and a total of 713 smart phones were recovered from them, Hyderabad Police said on Sunday, May 26.

The accused include snatchers, receivers, and mobile phone technicians who unlock stolen locked mobiles and tampered with the IMEI numbers, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Commissioners Task Force) S Rashmi Perumal said in a release.

While investigating a spate of mobile phone snatchings in Hyderabad city, it was found that a major criminal network has been operating in the city involving cell phone theft offenders, a host of receivers of these stolen cell phones (both national and international) who are in the business of unlawful transport of these cell phones out of the country to sell them for illegal profits.

Further, several stolen cell phones were being dismantled in niche markets, their IMEI numbers were being changed and the resultant components such as mobile screens, cameras, and speakers were subsequently being used as replacement parts for existing damaged mobiles received from customers at a fraction of price in comparison to original company rates, they said.

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During the investigation, police recently busted a similar network of stolen cell phone rackets and apprehended the accused, the release said.

All the accused (except one Sudan national) are natives of Hyderabad and are common friends, police said.

The accused collectively hatched a plan to commit theft/snatching of cell phones and sell these stolen cell phones to receivers, who have contacts with mobile technicians having expertise in unlocking the cell phones and tampering with IMEI numbers, police said.

According to police, it was also revealed that the cell phone receivers have offered advance payments to the snatchers to encourage them to bring bulk quantities of cell phones.

Subsequently, these cell phones were being sold to the Sudanese national, who is residing in the city and is allegedly illegally exporting these via sea route, the release said.

After a thorough investigation, Hyderabad police apprehended 31 accused people and seized 713 smart phones of various mobile phone brands from their possession, it said adding further investigation is on.

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