Four arrested for snatching, reprogramming mobile phones, 149 handsets recovered | noida | Hindustan Times
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Four arrested for snatching, reprogramming mobile phones, 149 handsets recovered

The crime branch officials said that several of the 149 mobile phones were traced and found to be operational in Delhi, Gautam Budh Nagar, Ghaziabad, Mumbai and Gujarat.

noida Updated: Jul 06, 2017 22:59 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Officials have recovered a number of devices and software that were specifically used to change the IMEI numbers and also to jailbreak the phones.
Officials have recovered a number of devices and software that were specifically used to change the IMEI numbers and also to jailbreak the phones.(Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

The crime branch of the Ghaziabad police on Thursday arrested four persons, including a student of Delhi University, on charges of snatching mobile phones and tampering with the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers to sell these phones.

The four accused, Gulfan Malik, Amir Khan, Nasir Ali and Abid Ali, are from Sahibabad and were arrested along with 149 mobile phones, including 19 iPhones, which their owners were robbed of. The police also seized computers, IMEI changing software and devices used for modifying particular brands of mobile phones.

“They have been operating for nearly two years and the gang roped in Nasir and Abid to loot handsets. The looted phones were brought to Gulfan’s workshop in Shalimar Garden in Sahibabad, where their IMEI numbers were changed. Overall, they earned anything from Rs2,000-Rs5,000 per tampered phone. The gang also used to clone stolen mobile phones with those that are currently operational,” said Brijesh Kumar Singh, superintendent of police (crime).

The crime branch officials said that several of the 149 mobile phones were traced and found to be operational in Delhi, Gautam Budh Nagar, Ghaziabad, Mumbai and Gujarat.

“This (cloning) means that they used the IMEI numbers of operational mobile phones to resell the stolen/looted mobile phones. When the phone owners were contacted in different cities, they said that they had bought their handset a long time ago and also had the bill for the same. The gang changed (the IMEI numbers of) a majority of the mobile phone models available in the market, barring iPhones and Blackberry handsets,” Singh said.

Amir, one of the four accused, is a student of Delhi University in a South Campus college. He said that he had teamed up with Gulfan to make a quick buck.

Officials have recovered a number of devices and software that were specifically used to change the IMEI numbers and also to jailbreak the phones. Officials said that Gulfan procured the software and devices from Karol Bagh and learnt the process from tutorials on the internet.

Officials said that the accused will be taken on remand for sustained interrogation and estimate that the gang, so far, has converted nearly 500 stolen mobiles phones from different areas in Delhi-NCR.