Waiting in line for the latest iPhone is by no means a pleasant experience. Sure, Apple often hands out free coffee and cakes, but I’d sooner stroll into the store and straight back out again and pay for my own coffee on the way home. But for millions of us this morning, standing in line is the only way to secure an iPhone 5 on launch day.
That is, if you’re a law-abiding citizen. If you’re not, you might consider breaking into a local carrier store and stealing more than $100,000 worth of iPhone 5 units — just like thieves in Japan did today.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Japanese carriers Softbank and KDDI-owned au were both broken into this morning, just hours before the iPhone 5 was set to go on sale. Three stores were hit across Osaka and more than 191 iPhone 5s were stolen — 116 of which were from Softbank.
Police have estimated that the thieves made off with more than ¥7.45 million ($95,000) worth of iPhones.
It’s unclear at this point whether the three incidents were connected, but given that they all happened in the same city around the same time, it appears that could well be the case.
Given the overwhelming demand for Apple’s latest devices, they are often the target of theft because thieves know that the devices will be easy to sell — often for a lot more than Apple is charging. Particularly in this case: With 2 million iPhone 5s pre-ordered via Apple’s online store during the first 24 hours of availability, those who were late are now facing a wait of up to one month.
This forces customers to look elsewhere, and means that there’s a huge demand for the devices on the grey market.