Mobile phone snatchers on the prowl in Hyderabad

Police busted several gangs in last fortnight; offenders find it an easy way to earn a quick buck

By Author  |  Published: 25th Mar 2019  12:02 amUpdated: 25th Mar 2019  1:05 am

Hyderabad: For property offenders in the city, mobile phone snatching has emerged as an easy way to earn a quick buck, as seen from the sharp rise in the number of victims approaching the police.

To check the trend, the police started to constitute special teams to investigate the complaints and recover the mobile phones. With a plethora of options available to dispose the gadgets, small time offenders are now resorting to snatching of mobile phones at public places. The police in the last fortnight arrested several gangs who were found to be involved in such snatching cases.

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“It is the easy money which is attracting the gangs towards the crime. The task is also easier as the gang just has to do a recee, identify a victim and snatch away the mobile phone before the owner realizes what happened,” Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar said.

Noticing an increase in these cases, the city police prioritised the crime and started cracking the whip on the offenders. Teams of the Commissioner’s Task Force are working on the cases and nabbing the suspects after obtaining clues from CCTV cameras, mobile phones tower locations and call data analysis.

“Priority is being given to property offences as they directly impact and give a sense of insecurity to the people. Special teams are working on cases of mobile phone theft as was the case previously with chain snatching cases,” Additional DCP Task Force S Chaitanya Kumar said.

In most cases, the offenders are 16 to 25 years old. This is because the task involves snatching a mobile phone from the hand of the owner or borrowing it on the pretext of making an ‘urgent call’ and running away. “They do it for some quick money. Most of the times, money earned from the offence was found to have been spent to lead a lavish life,” another police official said.

Availability of multiple platforms to sell the phones is a major facilitator for the offenders. From gadget stores, friends or even a complete stranger, snatchers have wide options to sell the phones. In a recent case, the police found an eight-member gang, including three juveniles, who sold stolen gadgets at Jagdeesh and Hong Kong markets at throw-away prices.

Nevertheless, the feeling among many happens to be that the police should crack down on receivers of the stolen property, which is the same in the case of gold ornaments. Only when there are no receivers, the offences will come down, happens to be the argument.