According to the German newspaper Der Spiegel, ten Xbox 360 development kits have been confirmed as being stolen from a warehouse in Düren in north-west Germany.
The kits apparently arrived for storage at the warehouse in late August, where they were to be stored in unmarked packages prior to being sent to developers. As soon as the kits were reported missing, both the Austrian federal police and the German public prosecutor’s office began investigations into the theft.
Images of what may be up to four of the stolen kits have subsequently appeared online, one on the website of a noted 'mod chip' creator SmartXX. An awkwardly worded statement from the company appears to indicate that these were some of the stolen kits, but that they were returned to Microsoft as a goodwill gesture. However, the company has also claimed knowledge that an additional fourteen development kits have also been stolen in Germany in recent months.
Raids of homes and businesses in both nearby Austria and in Germany have recovered three of the development kits, although it is not clear whether authorities have leads on the other seven. Certainly, if development kits have been in the hands of hackers and mod chip creators since as early as August, then Microsoft could be faced with an unexpectedly early problem with piracy and unauthorized hardware and software.