Gunma prefectural police have sent papers on a 21-year-old former police officer to prosecutors in Maebashi after he was accused of stealing side dishes from a detainee’s bento (boxed lunch).
The former officer, who worked at Tatebayashi Police Station, was reprimanded with a disciplinary penalty on June 10, Fuji TV reported. He voluntarily resigned on the same day.
According to police and local media reports, the officer was on duty at the station’s detention center on May 9 when he stole a piece of grilled Pacific saury (worth about 50 yen) from a bento served to detainees. Police said he admitted to pilfering the food and quoted him as saying “I was hungry.”
The officer said he had been eating portions of lunches for detainees, who were in solitary cells, since mid-April. Because the inmates often didn't eat all their lunch, the officer said he frequently ate the leftovers. He told police he began thinking if he served the meals himself, no one would suspect he had snacked on them beforehand.
On May 9, he took the saury from a lunch box he thought would be served to a detainee in solitary confinement. However, another officer delivered the bento to a cell where several people were detained. The theft came to light when one of the detainees claimed he had fewer side dishes than the others.
Upon investigation, the authorities discovered a half-eaten saury tossed in the trash can used by staff.© Japan Today