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Bulgarian mobile network Mobitel has reportedly blocked the phone number 0888 888 888 after it emerged that everyone to whom it was assigned died.

So noted the Daily Telegraph this week, much to the undoubted joy of numerologists and conspiracy theory wonks.

But it's worth noting that two of the three owners of the number were crooks: one an organised crime boss and the other the mastermind behind a massive drug smuggling operation.

Both men - Konstantin Dimitrov and Konstantin Dishliev - were shot and killed, a common fate of those willing to dable in such matters - whatever their phone numbers.

You'll have no doubt spotted another connection between the two: their first names. But the first owner of the number wasn't Christened Konstantin. He was one Vladimir Grashnov, ironically a former Mobitel CEO, who died in 2001 of cancer.

Would he have survived had he obtained a different phone number? Who can say. It's claimed he was poisoned, but if that's the case, surely it's more likely to do with his business success than the phone number he happened to be using?

Then again, what surprises us is that the megaoctal number was re-assigned after Grashnov's death. Can Bulgaria be so short of novel numbers? Might Grashnov have been done to death in order to free the megaoctal number for another?

Is there a novel in this?

Will we ever find the IT angle? ®

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