$95,000 in iPhone 5s Stolen from Japanese Stores Pre-Launch

Osaka Japan iPhone 5 Theft

At least 191 Japanese residents were very upset this morning, as thieves in Osaka stole as many iPhone 5s from three stores in city, according to The Wall Street Journal. The value of the stolen phones was estimated to be ¥7.45 million (about US$95,000).


As hundreds of customers waited anxiously for the launch of the latest iPhone, local residents called police around 3:00 a.m. to report three men snooping around a KDDI (one of Japan’s mobile companies and iPhone 5 launch partner) store. Police responding to the report found that 33 iPhone 5s had been stolen.

Two hours later, a Softbank store (another Japanese mobile carrier) had its entire stock of iPhone 5s stolen, including display units, by three men. Security camera footage showed that the entire heist took less than five minutes.

Finally, an “au” store (a mobile carrier brand owned by KDDI), lost 42 iPhone 5s to another break-in. Only two units, kept elsewhere in the store, escaped the fate of their unfortunate brothers. While the police believe that the first two robberies may be connected, security camera footage from the third incident is not yet available, and police do not know how many suspects were involved.

Osaka iPhone 5 TheftLucky iPhone 5 customers in Japan who didn't have
their iPhones stolen. Image via Bloomberg News.

Pre-orders of the iPhone 5 were nearly twice as high as those for the iPhone 4S, and with Apple Stores and iPhone resellers around the world reporting long lines, it is likely that the latest iPhone will set new sales records for the Cupertino company.

With such high demand, the loss of even 191 phones is difficult to bear, as up to 191 Japanese customers will now have to wait weeks or possibly even months to get their hands on Apple’s flagship product.

Police are continuing to investigate the crimes but all suspects remain at large as of the publication of this article.

Teaser graphic via Shutterstock.