The iPhone 5 has proven to be one of the most anticipated hardware launches of the year. Lines as far as the eye can see are stretching throughout cities. Some folks in Japan just couldn't wait and decided to skip the line (and paying).
The Wall Street Journal reports that a group of thieves have reportedly hit three major stores in Osaka before the launch of the iPhone 5. The thieves were able to get away with 191 iPhones just hours before the official launch. Three major stores were hit with one store losing its entire stock of 116 devices.
To be honest, it's a little strange. It's rare to see crime of this magnitude in Japan. It's also strange that stores didn't have lines in the hours before launch. The launch of a new Dragon Quest game, which is nowhere near the popularity of the iPhone is today, commands long lines hours before a store's opening.
That being said, the thieves may have intentionally targeted Osaka-based stores for that very reason. The stores in Tokyo probably had more stock, but there would be greater chances of crowds forming hours before the launch. It's still unfortunate that these stores had to miss out on the launch. One store even estimated that they lost 7.45 million yen due to the thefts.
There has not been any reports of iPhone 5 thefts in the U.S. yet, but the massive lines may have had something to do with that. We'll probably start to see individual thefts where people are mugged here instead. Thankfully Apple provides a free service that allows people to catch stupid thieves.