Cops turn tech savvy to nab ‘smart’ burglars

Two burglars, who used Wi-Fi dongles to communicate while committing the offences to avoid getting tracked by the police, were arrested by a special team of Mangadu police.
Cops turn tech savvy to nab ‘smart’ burglars
R Shankar and S Surya

Chennai

After a number of house-break incidents were reported in and around Mangadu in the last few months, a special team was formed to nab the culprits. But the usual method of combing CCTV footage proved futile, as the accused had covered their faces with masks and caps. The police then tried checking the mobile tower data to identify the phone numbers that were active in the areas where the crime happened. They zeroed in on a phone number, but were baffled to find that there was no call detail record (CDR).
That is when the special team analysed the internet protocol detail record (IDPR). Using that method, officials found that the phone number was used only for data but managed to trace a number of IP addresses linked to it, which helped secure the suspects, S Surya (23) of Villivakkam and R Shankar (38) of Pattabiram.
“They used the dongles to connect to the internet and communicated over WhatsApp calls when they reached a particular area for house-breaking. They were under the impression that we won’t be able to track them down and started striking locked houses frequently. But we proved them wrong,” said an officer.
Surya and Shankar became friends in prison and learnt about the dongle trick from other inmates, using which they indulged in 14 burglaries in Kundrathur, Ayanavaram, Ambattur and Mangadu in a span of three months. Besides these, they already have about 35 cases pending.
Police seized 35 sovereigns, two kg silver, two laptops, cameras and bikes each, apart from three Wi-Fi dongles. They were remanded in judicial custody on Wednesday.

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