Working on numerous complaints of snatching and robberies in the Northeast district, the Delhi Police busted an interstate gang by arresting two men who allegedly change IMEI numbers of stolen phones using special software and resell the devices at Chandni Chowk market.
Police found that the accused, Sameer (24) and Azim (21), who are trained in repairing phones/ devices, have been ‘actively’ robbing phones in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. Police said 66 such phones were recovered from one of their hideouts, along with a laptop, on which police found the software. The main accused, a Dehradun-based engineer, who has been running the gang for at least three years, is on the run.
On July 22, police received a complaint of phone theft at Welcome police station. With help of CCTV footage and local enquiry, the two men were arrested outside Jafrabad Metro station. They allegedly had the stolen phone and were on a stolen bike, said police.
DCP (Northeast) Sanjay Sain said, “We found that they worked with a 10-12- member gang. They would not only steal phones but also alter the settings and sell them in local markets. The IMEI numbers were being changed using third-party software.”
Explaining the modus operandi, the DCP said, “They have men who steal or rob phones from crowded areas. They collect all phones, unlock them using the software, and change the IMEI number and other settings. To evade arrest, they would even change the body of the device and sell it to their associates.”
Their associate, who is also on the run, would further sell the phones in Karol Bagh and Chandni Chowk, police added. A raid was conducted at one of their hideouts in Jafrabad and police found a HP laptop, an LCD-separator machine, camera glass, a glue machine, and registers along with 50 mobile phones, police said. Another raid was conducted in the area and police recovered 15 phones and 40 back panels (of phones).
The machines were used to dismember the phones and change camera glass, back panels and screens to give them a new look, police further said.
“All were robbed phones. We had to take out their IMEI numbers and put them on the server. So far, 18 of the recovered phones have been linked to FIRs lodged in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. The machines and panels show the accused were changing the body of the devices with spare parts. We are looking for the gang leaders and other accused,” said the DCP.
Police said the recovered cases are from Paharganj, Kalkaji, Karol Bagh, Mukherjee Nagar, Hapur and Ghaziabad among other places.