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

Rick Martin
3:16 pm on Sep 21, 2012

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

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) 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.

(And yes, we're serious about ethics and transparency. More information here.)

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