Most pieces are dismantled for spare parts or end up in other States, making it difficult to trace them

Once you lose your phone, it is difficult for police to trace as most of them are dismantled, and the spare parts end up in other mobile phones.

With rising mobile phone thefts, the chances of tracing them are less than 40 % as the organised mobile phones theft gangs have adopted the practice of dismantling devices and selling them as spare parts, further complicating the process of tracing.

“If the devices are dismantled and the parts are sold separately, we cannot trace them with International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, as it won’t be active at all,” a senior officer of Hyderabad city police said.

The parts are sold to roadside repair shops and even to the bigwigs in the organised retail and service markets in the city and across the country.

“They further fix the ‘original’ parts to damaged mobile phones at a much cheaper price when compared to authorised service centres,” the officer said.

The cases of lost mobile phones in the twin cities rise month after month, but the recovery rate is less than 40 %, he said.

“Each day on an average, 100 mobile phones are stolen in the city and police stations are burdened with complaints. But, a very few of them are traced and returned to the actual owners,” an officer said.

The gangs are suspected to have been selling the spare parts and even full devices to some traders in the city’s refurbished mobile phones complexes at Jagdish Market, Ameerpet, Secunderabad, etc.

If the device is not dismantled and the police manage to trace the IMEI numbers, the location is not just outside Hyderabad or Telangana, or even India, they are traced to Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and even in some African countries.

“The gang sell the stolen devices to local shops, who in turn supply them to organised gangs outside Telangana. Later, they are exported to many South Asian and African countries,” the officer said, adding that there are several cases in which the location of the device which was stolen from Hyderabad, surfaced in other countries.

“Forget about other countries, we cannot even send a team outside Telangana or even Hyderabad to recover a lost mobile phone. In such cases we are helpless,” he added.

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