According to a recent article in the York Dispatch , thieves made off with 180 PlayStation 3 systems from a shipping warehouse in Northern Japan, some time late on December 5.

Supposedly, the 180 machines were left sitting outside a Meitetsu Golden Air Cargo warehouse in Naka City for a few hours before the shipment was to leave. At this time, nobody knows if this was normal procedure or the shipment was simply left outside unattended for too long. Police are currently investigating the incident.

Obviously, there is a huge shortage of PS3s in Japan right now, so this will probably only serve to drive up prices even further. After all, those 180 units represented almost half of the total Japanese inventory right now, believe it or not. The machine has been impossible to locate since its launch several weeks ago, and now it appears people are resorting to drastic measures to secure one.

This certainly isn't the first PS3-related crime, and unfortunately, it may not be the last until Sony can resolve the shortage issue.