17 arrested as police bust phone theft ring in Kampala

Kampala, (UG):- The Flying Squad Unit’s coordinated intelligence operation targeting notorious gangs behind phone theft in Kampala yielded fruits after over seventeen suspects, mostly youths were arrested from within the city centre.

The operation carried out last week March 12, 2024, at around noon saw various vendors and smartphone dealers at Freeman Building along Namirembe road, in Rubaga Division nabbed with an assortment of suspected stolen phones which were exhibited.

“The Flying Squad Unit in coordination with the territorial police in KMP North, carried out an intelligence-led operation, on the 12th March.2024 at around 12noon, at Freeman building, Namirembe road, in Rubaga Division, where they arrested 17 dealers of suspected stolen phones and phone repairers. They were arrested with an assortment of suspected stolen phones which were exhibited,” SCP Fred Enanga, the Police Spokesperson said in a Monday security briefing at Naguru headquarters.

Among those arrested who were suspected to be phone dealers include; Edward Kabunga, aged 30 from Kasubi zone III, Muhangi Charles, aged 25 from Kasubi, Mukwano Alon, aged 29 from Musajja Alumbwa, Kibuka Ziyadi, aged 27 from Nakuwadde, Tumwekwase Augustine, aged 31 from Buwambo and Ayebare Michael, aged 25 from Zana.

Others are; Isebatya Paul aged 48 from Kyetume, Mugorucyeye Diana, aged 25 from Najjanankumbi, Namumbya Shadia, aged 26.

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Additionally, Mr Enanga said police also arrested several phone repairers who altered the serial numbers of the suspected stolen phones.

“These include; Kisegerwa Clement aged 27 from Nansana, Kasozi Abdul, aged 27 from Keleziya zone, Mulindwa aged 17 from Naluvule, Kyeyago Daniel, aged 37 from Kitebi Mutundwe, Mulege Treva, aged 17 from Nabweru, Sekate Treva aged 16 from Ntenjeru Mukono, Walulya Imulan, aged 25 from Kalungu-Bunga and Namakula Shadia, aged 16 from Nansana,” Mr Enanga said.

“The individuals are the masterminds who glorify phone thefts, because of the ready market they avail to phone snatchers, muggers, and robbers of all categories. They alt the original serial numbers with fake serial numbers,” he added.

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According to Mr Enanga, the arrested suspects are believed to be the masterminds behind a network that facilitates phone thefts by providing a ready market for stolen devices.

He adds that “by altering serial numbers and inserting fake identifiers, they enable phone snatchers, muggers, and robbers to sell their ill-gotten gains with impunity.”

Police emphasized that law enforcement authorities have expressed satisfaction in dismantling this nefarious operation and commended the joint efforts of the Flying Squad Unit, CID, and General Duties teams for their seamless coordination in apprehending the suspects.

“We are happy that we are bringing them to justice and want to thank the joint teams from the Flying Squad Unit, CID, and General Duties for their coordination in taking down this phone theft ring,” Enanga said, adding that such ongoing operations against criminal enterprises targeting innocent citizens reaffirm the commitment of law enforcement agencies to safeguarding the public from such illicit activities.

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“The operations against such criminal enterprises that target innocent citizens are ongoing. We appeal to anyone with information about such criminal gangs to avail them to the Flying Squad Unit,” he concluded.

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