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September 21, 2012

Scores of iPhone 5s Stolen from Japanese Stores Early Friday Morning before Sales Began

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

How badly do phone enthusiasts in Japan want Apple’s (News - Alert) new iPhone 5, which went on sale in the nation on Friday? Burglars sure want them.

Police say that in Osaka, some 191 iPhone 5s were stolen early Friday morning before stores started selling the devices.

Burglars targeted three different stores in Western Japan, according to The Examiner.

Nearby residents noticed one of the thefts around 3 a.m., with reports of suspects dashing away from the store. Still later, another store discovered their entire stock of iPhones had been stolen during the night.

The phones were valued at over $100,000. No suspects had been arrested as of 3 p.m. Friday (ET).

Officially, the iPhone 5 is being sold in Japan by mobile phone carriers KDDI (News - Alert) Corp. and Softbank Mobile Corp., TMCnet said.

There are also reports that a black market has developed for the iPhone (News - Alert) 5 – especially in Asia.

Meanwhile, thousands of customers lined up outside outlets worldwide for the device.

Already, Apple reports that initial sales of the iPhone 5 set a global sales record. In fact, over two million phones were pre-ordered on the first day they were offered, The Wall Street Journal reported.

On Thursday evening, over 120 consumers lined up at Fayette Mall's Apple Store in Lexington, Ky., to buy the new iPhone 5. Customers began arriving about 9:30 p.m. Thursday, according to a report from TMCnet. But unlike in some other locations, the mall asked the phone enthusiasts to leave around midnight.

Shoppers could not stay inside, because maintenance workers clean floors at the mall during the overnight hours, TMCnet added.

Sales of the new device are expected to be intense over this weekend. In fact, some 10 million iPhones could be sold this weekend alone, predicts Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Braden Becker
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