Shirker cops ask to report phone thefts on app

While the e-Lost Report app helped many trace their lost valuables, it has become a convenient tool for the Bengaluru police to dodge their responsibility to register FIRs and carry out investigations.

Several police stations are effectively outsourcing complaints to the app, even in instances of thefts and robberies. Complainants are left confused as to why the police are not registering cases.

Victims going to the police station to file complaints of bike-borne muggers snatching their phones at Vijayanagar were told by the station writer to go to the nearest cyber café and report the thefts on the e-Lost Report app.

“I was talking on my iPhone near the P&T office in Hosahalli on April 18 when two men on a Bajaj Pulsar snatched the phone and sped away. At the police station, they asked me to file the complaint on the e-Lost Report app, which I did. But no news about my lost phone so far,” said a victim.

Another victim, who had his Samsung G7 taken away by two men on a Honda Dio in Vijayanagar a month and a half ago, was also asked to report the theft on the app by the police with no news on the lost phone.

Though the trend of thefts and robberies being reported as lost on the app has become fairly frequent in the last two months, the Station House Officer at Vijayanagar police station flatly denied any such misreporting.

“There were cases when people lose their phones somewhere and realise it is missing when they reach Vijayanagar. Even on such occasions, we take down their complaints and put their IMEI number on the tracker to trace the devices,” the SHO said.

The owner of Eagle Prints and Eagle Books cyber cafes — located on 9th Main Road at a walkable distance from Vijayanagar police station — acknowledged that the police station direct at least four to five people to the cafes to get printed acknowledgements of their lost or stolen valuables, mostly smartphones.

“We charge them Rs 30 per printed acknowledgement,” said the man who owns both the cafes who refused to be named. “They narrate the incident (of loss or theft) and we’ve to key in a few details. The complainants get an OTP on their registered number,” he added. The acknowledgements are taken as lost even in cases where the phones were snatched or taken away while the victims were talking on them. 

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