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November 15, 2011

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Police bust ring of mobile phone thieves

CITY police said yesterday they have detained 25 members of a gang of thieves involved in a series of mobile phone thefts with a total value of more than 200,000 yuan (US$31,500).

Police said the suspects targeted college students on campuses and white-collar workers on the subway and in commercial areas. Most of the suspects are in their 20s and each had specific roles in the criminal enterprise.

So far the gang has confessed to 106 thefts. All mobile phones seized by police have been returned to owners.

The gang came to the attention of Hongkou District police in September when an informant said one suspect, Xiao Qihuang, was selling stolen phones.

Detectives found Xiao collected the phones daily in his car on Liuying Road, Hutai Road, Shiquan Road and Hongmei Road.

"He went to these places every day and met the same people," said an officer. "There were three or four people dealing with Xiao every morning and sometimes in the afternoon."

Police discovered that the places where Xiao picked up the phones were mostly the homes of pickpockets - more than 20 of them.

Police began tailing the thieves, and after establishing their daily schedules, they embarked on a three-day operation to detain them.


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