Police nab middlemen selling ‘thousands’ of stolen smartphones

Phone thieves face a hard time

UK police have arrested 13 people believed to have participated in a co-ordinated smartphone theft operation that left thousands of victims in its wake.

The sting, codenamed Operation Magnum, saw officers mount a series of dawn raids on the victims’ homes in south and west London, and led to the seizure of more than 1,000 stolen smartphones.

The detectives overseeing the operation said the majority of the smartphones are believed to have been stolen from commuters on trains.

Chief superintendent Paul Brogden listed the operation as a key victory and pledged further action against phone thieves in the very near future.

“These arrests show we are serious about targeting the industrial-scale criminal operations behind mobile phone theft by cutting off the supply of stolen property and putting those responsible before the courts. To truly tackle theft, we can’t just catch pickpockets and petty thieves; we have to also dismantle the criminal networks behind them, who profit from this type of crime,” he said.

“Phones are often stolen out of view of CCTV in crowded carriages or busy stations without the owner even realising. This makes it hard for us to catch thieves in the act and, even when we do, we often find they are only small players in much bigger criminal organisations.”

Despite Brogden’s claim, the 12 men and a woman arrested are only believed to be the middlemen who sold the stolen devices, not the thieves themselves, and are being held on suspicion of conspiracy to handle stolen goods and money laundering.

Magnum is one of many successful operations mounted by UK police in recent weeks. The cyber criminal responsible for denial-of-service (DoS) attacks on the Metropolitan Police’s website pleaded guilty in August and is now awaiting sentencing.

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12 September 2014 | 2:46 pm – Source: v3.co.uk

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