PESHAWAR: Incidents of mobile phone thievery are on the rise in the provincial capital as cell phone snatchers have learnt new tricks to loot expensive mobiles. Like every other year, in this summer season, especially in the fasting month of Ramazan, mobile phone snatching and robbery cases were on the peak. According to a police report received by Daily Times, some nine cases of mobile phone snatching were registered in May, while 12 cell phones were snatched out of which no one was recovered. Similarly, 18 cases of mobile snatching were registered in different police stations in June. 24 cell phones were snatched while six mobile phone snatchers were arrested. In Ramazan, Faqirabad Police Station recovered 17 mobile phones while Pahari Pura Police Station registered 31 cases of mobile phone snatching, and successfully recovered 30 cell phones. On July 13, Phandu police arrested a gang of cell phone snatchers, which led to the recovery of 11 mobile phones. Police also registered two cases of mobile phone snatching on July 16, and successfully recovered both cell phones the very next day, besides arresting two snatchers. Rehmatullah Khan, the station house officer (SHO) at Faqirabad Police Station, said that the cell phone snatchers were in contact with people who had expertise in changing international mobile equipment identity (IMEI) code. Khan added that an expert on IMEI code changing named Niaz Ali, alias Doctoray of Shah Dand, was arrested some days ago. According to a laboratory report, he had allegedly changed IMEI codes of thousands of mobile phones. The SHO said that a number of IMEI code changing experts were involved in such kind of criminal cases. He added that some of them were active in Hashtnaghar while some in Bilour Plaza, Saddar, Peshawar. He said that the cell phone snatching gangs had links in Afghanistan. “If the criminals fail to change IMEI codes of snatched mobile phones they export it to Afghanistan, he added. IMEI code is a 15-digit number for cell phones. Each mobile device has a unique IMEI number assigned by the respective GSM association.