Cops tout mobile phone theft remedy

Almost 2500 mobile phones valued at about $1.5 million have been stolen in Wyndham in the past five years.

Crime Statistics Agency data reveals that, on average, about 450 phones have been stolen in the municipality each financial year since 2011-12, but in the year to last June 30, 661 mobile phone thefts were recorded.

However, there’s a remedy, police say.

Wyndham police’s Acting Inspector Damien Madden called on mobile phone owners to document the 15-digit IMEI numbers unique to their phone.

In the event of theft, mobile phone owners can have their phones blocked remotely by calling their telecommunications providers and providing the IMEIs.

At that point, the phone won’t work even if a new SIM card is inserted.

“That’s the best way forward,” Acting Inspector Madden said.

“You can report your phone stolen, but if you don’t have your IMEI, people can use your phone and it can continue to be a commodity.

“[If you know your IMEI] you get it to the point where the phone’s useless once they are stolen … it will curb the attractiveness of that category [of crime].”

Wyndham had one of the highest rates of phone theft in the north-west metro region in the past financial year, behind Melbourne (1786 thefts) and Brimbank (724).

Acting Inspector Madden said the recent rise in mobile phone theft corresponded with a Wyndham-wide increase in overall crime, including theft from, and of, cars.

“We’re not unique [for phone theft]– it’s right across the state,” he said.

“It can be very opportunistic. We get a lot of reports [of thefts] from shopping centres and that type of thing … we did have some robberies where they were targeting mobile phones.”

To find out your phone’s IMEI, type *#06# into your device, press call and it will appear on your screen.