KAMPALA – Police together with the army on Thursday raided shopping malls in downtown Kampala and arrested 250 people suspected of dealing in stolen motorcycles and mobile phones.
Over 1,600 mobile phones and 134 motorcycles suspected to have stolen were also recovered in an operation conducted in Cooper Complex, Muganzirwanza and Mutaasa Kafeero shopping centres.
Before the raid, security forces surrounded the shopping centres, creating a lot of anxiety among the traders.
But police, in a statement, said that the operation was conducted following a tip off.
“In the last couple of months, there has been an upward trend of motorcycle thefts and robberies, theft of phones and electronic devices. We believe so many people’s lives were affected by the violent thefts of motorcycles, phones and other electronic items. It is against this background that we tackled the problem by finding people who buy the stolen items,” the police said.
“Acting on intelligence, the task teams raided units around Muganzirwaza, where suspected stolen motorcycles, were being sold and stripped for spare parts. We recovered several motorcycles, and also came across dismantled reusable parts. A total of 250 suspects were arrested for further screening,” police added.
According to police, thugs steal phones and take them to dealers in these shops who unblock and give the devices new IMEI numbers making the stolen phones find their way back on the streets as legitimate phones.
By providing a conduit for the thieves to be able to convert the stolen items of motorcycles, phones and electronic devices; they are encouraging the commission of the offenses. The massive operation will definitely disrupt the supply line for stolen merchandise and are hopeful it will reduce the number of burglaries, street robberies, theft of motorcycles and related murders, police said.
“All the items recovered are clearly marked with the location and where the items were recovered from. We are inviting people to come to KMP headquarters, and crosscheck the electronic devices and phones recovered including laptops, cell phones, as well as tablets, computer monitors, TVs. Those following the suspected stolen motorcycles should proceed to CID headquarters in Kibuli with supporting documents,” police said.
“We would like to urge anyone who thinks they know persons dealing in stolen items (buying and selling) to provide information to police on whatsapp number 0707114114 or on our Facebook or Twitter,” police added.