The Mumbai crime branch on Wednesday arrested a 27-year-old man who used to change the IMEI numbers of expensive stolen mobile phones in the city. The International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) is a unique serial number allotted to every GSM mobile phone and is used by networks to identify valid phones and block stolen or blacklisted phones.
The Mumbai police had recently searched for a stolen mobile phone through its IMEI number. However, the accused, Vijay Narvankar, changed the IMEI number of the stolen phone though an electronic machine.
“Narvankar said that he got the machine from his brother, who died a year ago, “ said inspector Manor Harpude from the crime branch . “The electronic machine is not available in Mumbai. It appears that Narvankar’s brother bought it from China. “
Narvankar was in contact with a mobile theft gang operating in the western suburbs. He took only expensive phones from them. He would also buy old and damaged phones at a cheap price. He would then deactivate the IMEI number of the stolen phones and replace it with the IMEI numbers of the old phones using the electronic machine.
Narvankar worked in a mobile shop at Malwani, Malad (West). Following a tip-off, officials of unit 11 of the Mumbai crime branch laid a trap and arrested him. They recovered several mobile phones from him ,which he had bought from the mobile theft gang.
Narvankar told police that he had been involved in the illegal activity since the past six months.He was produced before a court on Wednesday and has been remanded in police custody till March 27.