O2 users in the London suburb of Wimbledon looking forward to getting their hands on the Apple iPhone 5 on launch day have been left empty-handed after the local store’s entire stock went missing overnight.

Police want to speak to store assistant Usman Sethi, 23, who was seen on CC TV in the Tandem Centre O2 branch at 1.30 am on 21 September, only hours before the much sought after smartphones were due to go on sale.

A total of 252 iPhones disappeared from the store. Depending on the memory configuration of the models taken, the retail value of the loss would be between £13,500 ($22,000) and £17,000. The UK street value would be significantly lower.  

A quantity of money was also taken from the store’s safe, police said.

Police want to talk to the same person about a Friday morning theft of jewellery at a separate address belonging to a member of the man’s family.

Anyone spotting Sethi should phone London police on 020 8649 3062.