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back to article Japanese fanboy robbers empty shops of iPhone 5s ahead of launch

While fanbois around the world waited in line for their shiny new iToys a Japanese gang spent the early hours nicking all the iPhones they could find from three Osaka stores. Officials aren't saying that the robberies are related, but the Wall Street Journal reports that at two of the locations three chaps were seen, and the …

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Silver badge

And yet

even though they're stolen, and probably unusable. They can probably flog them off to some poor sap not aware of any of this, "yeah I can sell you a brand new iphone, all you need to do is provide your own sim"

Somebody pays £700 for it, buys a sim, and suddenly they're locked out and arrested for purchase of stolen goods.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And yet

Are you trying to tell us that thieves don't offer a 14-day cool-off period, no questions asked returns policy, or money back if you're not completely happy with the product? Shocked I am! Shocked!

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Bronze badge

Re: And yet

Probably just easier to ship them out to Africa, South America or somewhere that doesn't care about IMEI blacklists, and probably won't see official Apple launches, and people will pay through the nose to even get close to one.

Ship them en-masse and you could probably make nearer to a million, SIMS or not. And the nano-SIM's are not a hindrance if you have someone with the modicum of unlocking/SIM hacking expertise to their name (which is likely if you're looking to fence thousands of iPhones).

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Bronze badge

Re: And yet

Any 'poor sap' who buys the latest shiny shiny from a dodgy geezer at a knock-down price will know, or at least suspect, that they're nicked anyway. And as such, will get exactly what they deserve when their cash has been wasted and/ or they get arrested.

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Bronze badge

Status symbol

This sort of thing didn't ever happen with any Samsung product. Come to think of it, it hasn't happened with any Android Phone, Blackberry, or Windows Phone, either.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Status symbol

Actually it did happen with the Blackberry Playbook

http://www.reghardware.com/2011/12/19/us_thieves_steal_22_palettes_of_rim_blackberry_playbook_tablets/

Then again might just have been a way for Blackberry to claim more "shipped" devices.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Status symbol

Maybe they wanted to steal something where the potential buyer will be so blinded by "OOOH SHINY!" to ask questions? ;)

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G2
Trollface

Re: Status symbol

well, they did SHIP them....they just didn't reach the intended delivery destination :p

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Real phones in windows displays?

See title.

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Anonymous Coward

Nasty thieving little scumbags

But, at the same time, I couldn't help smiling.

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Anonymous Coward

Not real fanbois

Every stolen iphone makes Steve Jobs cry.

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Anonymous Coward

Very profitable...

With China right next door! Premium prices being paid for the latest phone, no (carrier) blocking... you can almost guarentee these phones will be on the streets of Hong Kong within hours.

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Blacklist is a waste for the most part anyway

Different when they're stolen pre-sale like these were, but over all it's a waste.

Having worked for a few cell companies over the years, here's how it works:

- Customer calls in to report the shiny new gadget they bought their teenager got stolen from the change room during gym class a week after purchase.

- Service suspended under category lost/stolen and phone added to blacklist

- Customer advised they're still on the hook for 3 years at $80/month

- Customer rages.

- Customer told they can put another phone on the contract.

- Customer pulls out their own previous phone collecting dust in a drawer to give to teenager.

- Customer calls back to activate old phone on teen's service.

- Suspension is lifted, thus removing it from blacklist because the process assumes it was lost and then found, not stolen and replaced.

- Thief sees teen w/ replacement phone next gym class and knows the stolen one is no longer hot and can now be sold/used.

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Holmes

Re: Blacklist is a waste for the most part anyway

Surely if they say 'just send me out a new SIM and my teenager will have to use the crappy old one in the drawer' the network would not automatically take off the block from the IMEI would they? It would be very stupid of the network to just assume the phone that had been reported stolen or lost was now the phone being used without checking with the contract holder. Kind of defeats the whole point of having the list.

Shipping to one of the many many many countries not on the blacklist service is what most people would do. Many phones stolen in the UK end up in Dakar or Lagos and are sold as second hand (not stolen) and fetch a pretty good price. Junkies and pickpockets know the fences and know they will only get £20 for most phones but some get quite a bit more. There is one street in Dakar called Rue De Portable (not it's real name but that's what every one calls it) where hundreds of tables lined up on the street provide every unblocking service you could ever need, with repairs also carried out by skilled techs using a pc and range of kit specially for the purpose.

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Happy

Perfect endng to the story

would be an end note \

stolen iphone 5 found smashed in landfill. Police baffled over human combustion as dozens of fanbois burst into flames over loss

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Pirate

Is there any way to remotely access the phone when it goes online, similar to the Computrace function on some laptops ?

Having a reputation for being able to kill stolen phones would surely reduce their attraction to the "second-hand goods" market.

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