Post [Q] wiping IMEI number

Hello, Im a user from India. Recently I lost my Nexus 4. It was pick-pocketed. After filing a complaint with the police and hoping for the Phone to get traced through IMEI I discovered that you can change the IMEI of the phones.
Thieves in India, after stealing your phone, crack your phone through a software. Later they wipe the IMEI number and replace it with another one. This IMEI is usually obtained form cheap Chinese made phones. After using its IMEI number, the chinese phone is usually discarded.
Is there a way to safegaurd your phone form IMEI wipe, so that thieves cant replace it and further increasing your chances of tracking the phone?
Can the developers come up with a way to make our phones steal proof?