Madikeri: A day after an emotional appeal by a nine-year-old girl who sought police help to track her deceased mother’s mobile phone, Kodagu police has put the mobile number as well as IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number on a tracker.
An emotional message on social media by Hrithiksha, daughter of a daily wage worker in Kushalnagar who lost her mother to Covid-19 on May 16, went viral on Sunday.
She appealed to the people who might have taken her mother’s mobile at the Covid hospital in Madikeri to give it back. She said that the mobile has a lot of memories of her mother.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (Dy SP) Madikeri, B. P. Dinesh Kumar told IANS that as soon as the police saw this message they put this number on a tracker but as of now this number remains switched off for obvious reasons. “We had hopes that she might find her phone in the Covid hospital. There are around 10 phones which have remained ‘unclaimed’ but unfortunately, she couldn’t find her phone,” he said.
According to him, the phone’s last location (before it was switched off) within a 10 km radius of the hospital is a clear indication that the mobile was stolen. “We have tracked the last location, our search is on, we will find this phone soon,” he added.
“The thief may change the SIM card and may keep it dormant for some time. We are very close to solving this case,” he said.
“The phone was switched off when the girl and her family members tried calling the deceased (Prabha) on Saturday (May 15) and the next day the family was told that Prabha had succumbed to the deadly virus,” he explained.
Kumar said they asked for the phone to be given back.
“Hrithiksha has been crying and asking for the mobile to be returned since the phone has a lot of photos of her mother,” local media said quoting the family.
Hrithiksha is a class 4 student in Kushalnagar. Her mother fell ill two weeks ago and was hospitalised in Madikeri after testing Covid positive.
Meanwhile, a team of volunteers from the local Indian Youth Congress office met the family to hand over a new phone to Hrithiksha. “Since a FIR is also registered in this case, we’ve also requested police authorities to catch the thieves quickly,” IYC national president Srinivas B. V. tweeted.
The IMEI is a unique 15-digit serial number given to every mobile phone which is often used by the police to track criminals or phones.
“When a ‘missing’ phone is off, police contacts service provider to give the details of calls made in a specific duration of time. So they can get last location of phone from there. This is basically because you connect to a tower of the service provider to make calls/SMS/etc and the provider records the same. Therefore, some details regarding the call, your phone and the tower are stored with the company,” the police said.
The police added that generally tracking android phones is easy as it keeps a track of location history by default. “But to get this information we need to get access to it through Google, which is a lengthy process, but in this case we may not have to go this far as we have other methods to track this phone,” the police said.