250 iPhone 5s stolen from London store in worldwide spate

There have been a raft of iPhone 5 thefts since the handsets were delivered to shops early Friday.

A man stole 252 iPhone 5s from the London phone shop he worked in just hours before they were due to go on sale. Meanwhile, similarly minded thieves struck in Japan.

Twenty-three-year-old Usman Sethi is accused of taking the devices -- estimated to be worth £170,000 -- from the O2 store in Wimbledon in the early hours of Friday morning, the Daily Mail reports. He took cash as well, before going on the run. But he wasn't the only thief keen to get his hands on a new Apple handset.

In Japan, about 200 devices were stolen from stores in Osaka around the same time, just hours before launch, according to the Wall Street Journal. Another 75 were half-inched from a couple of KDDI shops, and a further 116 from a Softbank store.

Police are on the hunt for Sethi, who's believed to be driving a grey Ford Mondeo. A Scotland Yard spokesperson said, "We wish to speak with a man in connection with the theft of 252 Apple iPhone 5 smart phones from a shop in Wimbledon."

Not really the publicity Apple would like. But it's not a one-off.

Last week footage was revealed of a gang ram-raiding an Apple store in the US. The thieves drove an SUV into the store in Temecula, California, before making off with iPhones and iPads. Clearly they weren't the most savvy of criminals, stealing phones that would be out of a date a few days later.

One of the gang was arrested and charged, after he was found in possession of the keys to the BMW used in the robbery. He pleaded not guilty, while the other suspects are yet to be identified.

Are these kinds of crimes inevitable, with devices become slicker and smaller? Has our gadget lust gone too far? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.

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About the author

    Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.

     

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