iPhone 5 Release Sparks Global Apple Crime Spree as Hundreds of Units Are Stolen

Hundreds of iPhone 5's have been reported stolen in a worldwide Apple crime spree on Friday, as the next generation iPhone was put on release.

In one incident a man in London stole 252 iPhone 5's from an O2 Store in Wimbledon, South London. The man reportedly has only worked in the store for a few hours when he took off with the large stash of mobile phones worth about 170,000 pounds ($275,000), as well as cash.

The suspect in that crime is believed to be a Pakistani national who was seen driving a grey Ford Mondeo. Ports and airports across England have been put on alert as police attempt to track the phones before they are shipped out of the country.

In Japan other Apple thieves hit taking away more than $100,000 worth of iPhone 5's. According to the Wall Street Journal both Softbank and KDDI-owned au were the victims of burglaries in three separate incidents across Osaka. It is believed that 191 iPhone 5's were stolen just hours before they were due to go on sale.

The locations and timings of the thefts in Osaka have led police to believe the incidents were committed by the same group of criminals. However, authorities have not yet confirmed whether they are investigating the three incidents as connected, and they are still reviewing security footage and witness evidence.

The iPhone 5 is considered to be the most hotly-anticipated mobile of the year, and thousands of fans began queuing days in advance around the world so they could be among the first to get their hands on the new device.

Apple has reported pre-orders around the world of approximately two million in just 24 hours.