Hundreds of iPhone 5 Units Stolen on Eve of Launch

With Apple retail stores, carriers, and other retailers taking delivery of their launch-day iPhone 5 stocks overnight last night, hundreds of the units have been stolen in several incidents on opposite sides of the globe. While security is tight at Apple's own retail stores where staff were on hand all night to set up window displays and demo units, carriers whose retail stores were left unattended during the night have been the primary target for thieves.

The Wall Street Journal reports that a total of 191 units were stolen from three separate shops run by carrier partners KDDI and Softbank in the Osaka area in Japan. Police have not confirmed that the burglaries are connected and are still investigating security footage and other evidence. The majority of the stolen units came from a Softbank outlet that was cleaned out of its entire stock of iPhone 5 units.

[A] Softbank Corp store in the western district of Osaka city was wiped clean of its iPhone 5 stock. All 116 devices were stolen, including one store display. The police said they were taken from the locked backroom within a four minute span from 4:24 a.m. as shown on security camera footage. The video recording also showed there were three culprits, all likely to be male. The police said it is uncertain whether the robbery is related to the incident in Ibaraki, located about 20 minutes away by car.

In the United Kingdom, The Independent reports that over 250 iPhone 5 units were stolen from an O2 shop in London in what appears to have been an inside job.

Officers want to speak to Usman Sethi, 23, of Audley Gardens, Ilford, east London, who works as an assistant at the store.

The phones were taken at 1.30am, with a quantity of cash which was also stolen from the shop's safe. [...]

Police also want to speak to Mr Sethi, a Pakistani national, in connection with the theft of jewellery belonging to a family member from his home address in Audley Gardens.

At a median selling price of £599, the 252 stolen iPhones would be valued at approximately £150,000 or nearly $250,000.

Top Rated Comments

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106 months ago
Samsung just got it's next advertising idea!

Buy our phones because no one will steal them on launch day. :D
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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106 months ago
Yep, that iPhone 5 is a real dud. So unpopular...
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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106 months ago
Imagining Find My iPhone showing a hundred blue dots in a warehouse somewhere.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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106 months ago
Too bad Apple won't be able to find them using their shiny new Maps app... :-)
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
106 months ago
Nobody will ever notice!!:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
(http://gifsoup.com/view/1407267/sign-thief.html)
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
106 months ago
Okay, even with this news, the guy who scratched up the display iPhone 5 in-store is worse than the guys stealing the iPhones.

Because those stolen iPhones are still flawless and not scratched.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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