The Adamawa State Police Command has arrested four suspects for allegedly specializing in receiving stolen phones and changing their IMEI numbers to thwart recovery efforts.
Especially around the state capital, Yola, stealing of handsets mostly by a crop of youths called Shila Boys, is a common phenomenon but the police have always helped by tracing some of the stolen phones through their IMEI numbers supplied by people who report their stolen phones.
In a statement released on Thursday by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the state, Suleiman Nguroje, the police, however, said the four suspects now in police net found a way to change the IMEI numbers of the phones they buy from phone snatchers, to make the police helpless in their effort to recover such phones.
The PPRO, who also said the suspects are equally associated with armed robbery, stated, “On the 16th December, 2020, the command received report from Engr Babangida Yusuf, a resident of Karewa Extension, Yola North LGA, saying that he was attacked in his house at gunpoint and was robbed of his belongings.
”The suspects, Ibrahim Musa (24 years old), Abdulrazaq Abubakar (25), Ishaya Musa (32), and Wakil Muhammad (30) who are residents of Mubi South and Yola North LGAs were apprehended while others are at large.”
The police stressed that the suspects engage in robbery and in receiving stolen handsets and changing the IMEI numbers to prevent recovery.
“Investigations further revealed that the gang members were planning to move the stolen items to the neighboring country (Cameroon) for disposal before their arrest,” Nguroje added.
Handset thieves in Adamawa State are in two categories: one comprise armed robbers who, operating mostly at night, force your phone off you at gunpoint, while the second category consists of the typical Shila Boys who, usually carrying you as a passenger in their Keke NAPEP in broad daylight or at night, pick your phone from your pocket, often without even their trademark knife as weapon.