iPhone 5 handset of choice for thieves too, with hundreds stolen in string of raids

The iPhone 5 certainly has its fans, with millions pre-ordering Apple’s new handset when it went on sale last week. Thieves in Japan and the UK also appear to like the look of it, with nearly 450 phones taken in raids at a number of stores in the two countries.

In the western Japanese city of Osaka, police said that early Friday morning – just hours before the new phone went on sale in retail stores there – 191 new iPhone 5 handsets were taken from three phone stores located around the metropolis.

One had its entire stock of 116 nabbed in a raid that reportedly lasted just four minutes. Camera footage from the scene showed three people taking part in the theft. The value of the stolen goods was put at 7.5 million yen (around $96,000). The store stayed closed Friday, leaving 116 iPhone customers sorely disappointed when they turned up hoping to pick up the latest iteration of Apple’s smartphone.

In a separate incident, 42 of 44 new iPhones were taken from a phone store in another part of the city. A third store had 33 taken. The three raids occurred within two hours of each other, though investigators said they won’t know if the crimes were carried out by the same culprits until they view camera footage from all three raids.

Meanwhile, police in the UK said they want to speak to an employee of a London phone store who hasn’t been seen since 252 iPhone 5 handsets went missing from the premises. The handsets were reportedly taken at around 1.30am Friday.

Theft of a new iPhone on the morning of its launch is probably another first for Apple, though not one the tech giant will be particularly proud of. Perhaps it’s simply another indicator of the level of buzz and hype surrounding its new handset, one which is likely to sell in huge numbers in the coming months.

[Source: WSJ, BBC] [Image: Yayayoyo / Shutterstock]

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