Military,Police Raid 184 Electronics Shops In Kampala Arcades, 230 Thieving Traders Arrested

The police and sister security agencies has conducted a total of 11, separate but well conducted raids targeting stolen items within the Kampala Metropolitan area.

The raids covered 184 shops and yards that were selling suspected stolen items.

230 arrests and several recoveries were made.

The operations were based on intelligence, following several thefts from street gangs, attacks on boda boda riders, breakings and burglaries in selected neighborhoods, and robberies, where the stolen items, were linked to these shops and yards.

This followed an earlier operation that targeted cell phones, electronics, motorcycles and spare parts, led to a successful raid on 66 shops, which were allegedly buying cell phones, electronics and motorcycles including spares, stolen by criminals.

The task teams seized a total of 6808 cell phones, after more search certificates were found wrapped among the exhibits, 567 laptops, 15 TVs, 10 CPUS, 04 monitors, 38 hard drives and 03 modems.

1600 cell phones were assessed, 2524 and came up making a total number of 6808 cell phones that were recovered. Out of  these 1325 had no IMEI,1571, had no serial numbers, 353 had no details at all, 09 still had profile pictures of suspected owners and one phone had its contacts intact, bringing the total number of phones with queries to 3648. It implied that 53.4% of the total phones recovered had issues. In addition 7 shops had 100% cell phones that either lacked IMEI and or had altered serial numbers.

All in all, the shops cordoned and searched were found to be in possession of cell phones with no IMEI, had altered IMEI, or serial numbers, had no serial numbers, some still had contact lists and sim cards, and others had profile photos of suspected owners. There were also cell phones recovered with superficial or easy to alter manufacturers’ logo; and those whose contents did not match the entire make and model i.e. the battery and housing labels were different.

Further forensic analysis in close coordination with the UCC is still ongoing and those who will have been established to have unlawfully manufactured, imported, distributed, leased, offered for sale modified, installed, operates or possessed apparatus or device , will be additionally charged under Sec 82 of the UCC Act 2013.

The police say 210 arrested persons, 98 suspects were charged to court, with receiving and retaining suspected stolen property after it was established that they lacked supporting documents,18 suspects were pending court. The balance of 94 was screened out, and those involved juveniles who were learning on the job, clients caught up in the operation as well as casual labourers /loaders while the force also retrieved 89 reports out of the 178 from URA, with clear particulars on the recovered motorcycles and ownership. This includes requests on engine numbers found on certain engine parts and chassis numbers found on motorcycles frames .The other 89 requests are still pending with URA. We do call upon those with claims of ownership to come with relevant documents for identification and also reveal circumstances under which the motorcycles disappeared.

On Kiseny raids, the police say they 118 shops were raided with strong evidence of scrap metal crimes from utilities. These include 30 shops at Kisenyi business centre, 26 at Nakitende yard, 25 shops at Muzaana, 09 shops at USAAFI, 15 shops at Shamba complex, 02 shops at Musajja Alumbwa, 01 shops at Mwanga II, 07 shops at new taxi park and 03 shops at MacKay plaza. A total of 20 suspects were arrested out of whom, 09 were charged to court and 11 suspects still pending.  The task team recovered an assortment of metal scraps which included insulated cable wires, copper wires, steel and aluminium wires, underground telecom cables, two solar batteries for maintaining masts, 160 litres of transformer oil, and several huge underground pipes.

Police findings indicate that all the shops raided, had some evidence of handling or dealing in suspected stolen goods. The double operation followed a 6 month intelligence that conducted several undercover operations in which it established where the cell phones, electronics, motorcycles and spares, as well as scrap metal from utilities were sold for cash. They were hotspots destinations for selling these stolen items thus encouraging the commission of offences and other forms of anti-social behaviors.

“The massive operation has started yielding fruits after discernible drop in the thefts of mobile phones, electronic and motorcycles, Police spokesman, Fred Enanga said. “We have also seen a reduction in complaints from utilities like UETCL , KCCA, UNRA, telecom companies and we do  anticipate a further drop in the number of burglaries, street robberies, thefts of motorcycles and related murders, due to the continuous intelligence led raids.”

Enanga urged all businesses dealing in stolen goods to change their methods.

“We also commend the majority of dealers who are transacting genuinely, and all those who cooperated with our investigation with genuine documents supporting their stock. All items without any issues shall be handed over,” he said.

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