The easy availability of the 'flasher' is encouraging the criminals to snatch more mobile phones. The gadget also helps these criminals in escaping from police's range.
After Amulya Patnaik took over the charge as Delhi Police commissioner, and he analysed the crime trend in the city, all the policemen have started reworking their entire strategy of tackling cellphone thefts, devising methods to flush out people who possess flashers.
A flasher is a small device that connects the phone to the computer and helps the user change the IMEI number of the handset. After the IMEI number is changed, it is next to impossible to locate that phone.
Police said in the recent times, most of the snatchers who are running the racket are well aware about flasher. So they themselves are using the software in changing the IMEI number and then selling it online or in the market.
AVAILABLE FOR REASONABLE PRICE
"Due to its availability at reasonable prices, the demand for flashers has also gone up. Flashers are mainly manufactured in China and the starting price is Rs 10,000, which goes up to Rs 20,000. The devices can be found in black markets in the city and in particular, the popular Gaffar Market in Karol Bagh," one of the officer said, quoting arrested snatchers' confessional statement.
International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) is a 15-digit serial number encoded inside a cellphone that was of critical help in locating a lost or stolen cell phone.
Around 175 mobile phones were stolen every day in the national capital in January and February this year. According to the data, Delhi Police had registered 10,497 cases of mobile phone thefts till February 28.
Last year, 36,217 cases of mobile phone thefts were reported. Till February this year, the Delhi Police registered 638 cases of laptop thefts, while last year, the number stood at 3,060.
"As the criminals are changing the IMEI number so the cops remain clueless about solving the cell phone thefts that has increased in the recent times," said an official.
The criminals are reselling the stolen mobiles in good price.
However, earlier when they were not aware about the usage of flasher, they used to dispose the cell phone in spare parts. Earlier, when the snatchers steal the phone, they used to throw away the SIM cards to avoid being caught, but now they connect the flasher and change the IMEI number.
Cyber experts believe there are many holes that the service providers need to plug and as they primarily "do not police the crucial IMEI numbers", the thieves get the advantage.