The Great iPhone 5 Robbery: Japanese Thieves Steal Almost $100,000 Worth Just Before Launch

Au store in Ibaraki, Osaka. Photo: sponichi.co.jp

The Wall Street Journal and Japan’s Nikkei are reporting that thieves were the first to get their hands on Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL - News) new iPhone in Japan, just hours before it officially launched in the country.

In Osaka city, a series of robberies resulted in 191 iPhones stolen:

  • 33 iPhone 5s were stolen from an Au store in Ibaraki city, Osaka.
  • 116 iPhone 5s were stolen from a Softbank store in Western Osaka (4:24am).
  • 42 iPhones were stolen from a nearby Au store (2:30am).

Total value? 7.45 million yen, or about $95,000 worth of iPhones. The reports state that it isn’t certain that these robberies are connected, but I expect they almost certainly are.

Aside from that hiccup, it looks like the iPhone 5 has been warmly received in Japan, with about 750 people queuing this morning at the Ginza Apple store in Tokyo.

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