How jobholders turned laptop lifters
Police busted a big 25-member gang of thieves who steal laptops from different offices in Dhaka
Kamrul Hossain works in the state-run Jibon Bima Corporation.
On January 23, he took part in a training programme of the Bangladesh Industrial Technical Assistance Centre (Bitac). After completing the session, he took away a laptop from the autonomous government body and research centre.
But he was unlucky that day. He was caught stealing the laptop in a closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera. Later, Bitac's Executive Engineer Arifur Rahman filed a case with the Tejgaon Industrial Police Station over the incident.
On February 8 and 11, police conducted drives in different parts of Dhaka and arrested four people who used to work in a gang to steal laptops from different offices.
The arrestees include two masterminds, Kamrul Hossain and ICB Islami Bank's Assistant Auditor Mokhles, and their two associates, Shaon and Razib.
Police recovered 23 laptops from their possession. During interrogations, police got significant information about their laptop burglary from different offices.
Police said Kamrul and Mokhles used to lead a 25-member gang of thieves in different parts of Dhaka, including Mirpur, Pallabi, Uttara and Motijheel.
In the last five years, this gang stole about 1,000 laptops from different offices, including Tax Area-10, Alico, National Housing Authority and the casino of Mohammedan Club.
Police sources said the ring used to sell those stolen laptops on e-commerce platforms for Tk5,000-Tk15,000 apiece. Besides, they also maintained a strong network with thieves at the district and upazila levels too.
Moinul Islam, an assistant commissioner of police at the Tejgaon Industrial Zone of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, told The Business Standard that the gang members have been arrested during the investigation into the Bitac theft case.
They used to target an office and enter there in the pretext of some work. Later, they would steal laptops from there, the police official also said.
To squeeze out the names of their other gang members, Kamrul has been put on a one-day remand.
Meanwhile, sources said Mokhles works in the ICB Islami Bank on a monthly salary of around Tk22,000.
But, he has a luxurious flat in a posh area of Dhaka. He also has two private cars and expensive furniture of different prominent brands.
On the other hand, Kamrul, alongside his job, used to sell mobile phones he illegally brought in from China.
At one stage, he got introduced with some sellers of old mobile sets and repairmen in the Gulistan Stadium Market area. They asked Kamrul to sell their mobile phones and laptops they used to buy from other thieves.
Gradually, Kamrul developed a ring of mobile phone and laptop thieves.
Bitac Executive Engineer Arifur Rahman told The Business Standard that Kamrul was a trainee in their programme.
"On January 23 afternoon, I went to the room of my boss. When I came back after some time, I discovered my laptop was missing from my table. We filed a case and police arrested Kamrul after analysing the CCTV footage," he said.