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Japanese thieves steal 191 iPhone 5s on morning of launch

updated 11:53 am EDT, Fri September 21, 2012

KDDI, Softbank outlets hit

Thieves in Osaka, Japan managed to steal 191 iPhone 5s in the early hours before the phone's launch today, the Wall Street Journal reports. Police say that three stores across the city were hit; the first incident happened at one of carrier KDDI's au stores in the suburb of Ibaraki. Local residents called the police shortly before 3AM, saying that three men were skulking around the outlet. 33 iPhones were taken, and neither the men nor the phones have been found.

Two hours later a Softbank shop was hit. All 116 iPhone 5s were taken, including even a store display. A security camera recorded the robbery, which took only about four minutes, beginning at 4:24AM. Three people can be seen in the footage, but police say it's unclear whether the Softbank raid was related to the initial au break-in. Authorities were only notified at about 7:45, shortly after the store manager arrived and discovered the lock pried open. The phones were valued at about 7.45 million yen, or over $95,000 US. In response to the theft the shop closed for the day.

Another au store was invaded at 2:30AM. 42 iPhones were taken, leaving only two behind that were kept elsewhere in the building.

Crime is a particular issue surrounding iPhone launches. Since any new model is in short supply and high demand, they can be especially lucrative for thieves, who may target not only stores but new legitimate buyers of the hardware.

by MacNN Staff



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