Kids paid to steal cellphones in Hyderabad

Published Nov 16, 2013, 12:18 pm IST
Updated Mar 18, 2019, 6:29 pm IST
Picture for representational purpose only.
 Picture for representational purpose only.

Hyderabad: Children employed to pickpockets is an old ploy. But these days they are employed not to steal money, but to steal mobile phones in the city.

The Market police unearthed a gang from Jharkhand operating in the Hyderabad that paid Rs 10,000 to boys and girls aged 10 to 14 years to steal mobile phones in busy market areas, railway stations, examination centres and bus stands.

Additional inspector of police P. Sudhakar of the Market police said these children were being used because they can escape quickly.

Also, under the Juvenile Justice (care and protection) of Children Act, it is easier for them to get bail.

The gangs have rooms in Jiyaguda, in the Kulsumpura area of the old city, and use these as makeshift hostels to house the children’s gangs.

“The boys come to the city every morning in RTC buses and go back to the hostel after the thefts. They pick the cellphone from the pocket by diverting the attention of the subject. One of the boys
confessed that they are paid on contract basis by Bihar-based thieves who are adults,” said Sudhakar.

The Market police seized 19 mobile phones from the makeshift hostel in Jiyaguda and have filed the final report in the Fifth ACMM court, the juvenile court in the city. The children are employed for a month and then go back to Jharkhand and Bihar from where they were recruited.

Stolen mobiles sold in Bihar, Jharkhand

Hyderabad: The cellphone thieves have trained children on how to steal mobile phones. “They use simple tactics to steal the phone from the upper pocket. One of the boys led us to their hideout at Kulsumpura where we found 19 cellphones in a bag,” said sub-inspector D. Ravikiran.

The gangs sell the phones in Jharkhand and Bihar to avoid being caught by the police, after erasing the IMEI number. The IMEI number is removed to prevent the police from tracking the stolen mobile phone.

One of the victims of the children’s gang is Lakshmi Narayana, 47, who lodged a complaint with the police. Two minor boys were arrested in the case and they are now out on bail. Police think that there are other such gangs on the prowl in various parts of the city.

Next: 100 mobiles stolen a day in city

100 mobiles stolen a day in city

Hyderabad: At least 100 mobile phones are stolen every day in the city and under the Cyberabad police Commissionerate limits but most of them are not reported.

A city police official said, “In the 101 police stations in both City and Cyberabad, around 100 thefts take place. Most of these thefts take place in RTC buses, railway stations, bus stations, exhibitions and examination centres. However, most cases are not registered or reported to us.”

The City Crime Records Bureau doesn’t maintain separate data on cell phone thefts. CCRB Inspector Suryachandar said, “Cell phone thefts are registered under the simple thefts category.”

Central Zone deputy commissioner of police, V.B. Kamalasan Reddy said, “Most people do not lodge complaints. Complainants whose phones are insured take “lost and not traceable certificates and claim insurance.”

The sleuths of the Task Force had seized six cell phones, including Samsung Galaxy phones, from a 20-year-old pick-pocket Rajesh on November 4. He had stolen the phones from people travelling in RTC city buses.

In another case, on October 28, the Tappachabutra police had arrested a man and had seized 85 cell phones. Another person was arrested for purchasing the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) numbers of these mobiles for implanting on other stolen cell phones.

After tampering with the IMEI number, the label stating the IMEI number and other information about the cell phone is peeled off from motherboards, sources said. This is done to hide the identity of the owner and to mislead the police and to mislead the police.

Location: Andhra Pradesh


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