iPhone 5 thieves break into mobile shops in Japan hours before launch

Local police said at least 191 handsets were stolen from multiple shops in the hours before they opened for business Friday

Thieves broke into a number of mobile phone shops across central Japan and stole hundreds of iPhone 5 handsets hours before the device went on sale Friday morning, police said.

The robbers broke doors and forced open the front shutters on at least three shops in Osaka, two run by Japanese operator au and another by Softbank, making off with 191 iPhone 5 handsets in the thefts, which are uncommon in the country. Local media reported that thefts also occurred in nearby Kobe, bringing the total number of handsets to over 220.

"These sorts of robberies are rare here," Nasakazu Ohashi, a deputy police chief in Osaka, said.

Ohashi said that in his Osaka precinct robbers forced their way into the back door of an au shop at around 2 a.m. local time, making off with 42 handsets valued at about 300,000 yen, or US$40,000. At a Softbank shop in a different part of the city, a security camera captured three men, who forced open metal shutters covering the front door, gathered up 116 phones in storage and on display, and disabled an alarm on the back door before running away on foot, all in a four-minute span from 4:24 a.m. local time.

Police said the robbers apparently targeted only the iPhone 5, leaving earlier versions of the iPhone and handsets from other manufacturers untouched.

The iPhone 5 is already generating as much or more fanfare than previous launches in Japan, one of the first countries to begin iPhone sales on Friday. In central Ginza in Tokyo, nearly 800 people lined up outside the Apple Store, with those in the front of the line waiting nearly a week for the privilege. The smaller shops plundered on Friday were in far less populated parts of the country.

In Japan, au and Softbank, the second and third largest carriers behind NTT DoCoMo, are the only two to offer the iPhone.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jay Alabaster

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?