A 25-year-old computer expert, Rilwan, who makes stolen phones untraceable in networks, has landed in police net.
The suspect, a native of Oyo State and a college of education graduate, also allegedly assisted kidnappers in making phones used for negotiations for ransom untraceable.
The Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT), led by DCP Abba Kyari, nabbed Rilwan at Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos. Also in custody is his accomplice, Osho, who he described as his most trustworthy business associate and link man.
Rliwan told operatives that he was not denying the allegations of helping criminals to make their phones untraceable by security agents. He said: “I am a software engineer and I learned it online through Google search engine and GSM Forum. I normally charge customers N2,500 to change the original International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number in their phones. I cant deny the fact that i knew that the phones were stolen because no genuine businessmen or persons would be requesting that I should assist in making his or her phones untraceable by security agents. Common sense is there to guide us. I knew that the technology was frustrating police investigation but they are making it look as if I can change IMEI of every phone. No, I can only change the IMEI of Tecno and Infinix phones. I can’t change those of Samsung, iPhone and Blackberry.”
Singing like a bird, he told the investigators how he carried out his so-called exploits.
“I can corrupt the IMEI of Tecno and Infinix using an upgraded version of a software known as Octopus, which is used mainly in unlocking phones, and it would automatically make the phones untraceable for a period of three months, by then the owner of the stolen phones may have stopped looking for them, also security agents trying to track the phones would have been frustrated and lost interest in the search for the phones.
“After the three months, the owner of the phone can come back and I would still make it untraceable for another three months. Some used to come back the third time. Why people come back many times is that the new IMEI is not permanent, it reverts back to its original IMEI number after three months and the user may want to change it again and I would still reactive it for him.
A police detective who spoke on the condition of anonymity, as he was not authorised to talk to the press, said Rilwan’s arrest came following difficulties experienced by operatives of the IRT and other units of the police during investigations into heinous crimes such as murder, armed robbery and kidnapping.