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crime

15 tons of sweet potatoes stolen in Ibaraki

15 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

On the morning of Nov 18, a 53-year-old farmer in the town of Oarai, Ibaraki Prefecture, walked into his warehouse, located next to his sweet potato field, and noticed that sometime over the weekend someone had helped themselves to the harvested crops which had been stored inside the building. Are you imagining someone stealing a couple spuds to munch on? Think again, because the thieves made off with 15 tons of them.

It’s not like they were being stored inside a truck trailer that could easily be hitched up and driven away with. The farmer had placed his crops in containers that each hold roughly 20 kilograms of produce, and though he’d had 1,000 of them inside the warehouse at the end of the workday on Saturday, on Monday morning approximately 750 of them were missing.

The farmer says he hadn’t bothered locking the door to his warehouse when he left on Saturday, and while that may be a touching example of how safe he feels his rural community is, it was an ill-advised decision, especially since less than two moths have passed since another massive sweet potato theft in the prefecture. On Sept 30, a farmer in Ibaraki City reported that 2.7 tons of harvested sweet potatoes had been stolen from his facility, and investigators are now looking into the possibility that the two crimes were carried out by the same thieves.

Weird as the targeted items may be, the economic damage is serious, with the Oarai farmer’s lost property valued at more than 1.87 million yen.

It might be hard to imagine what a criminal would want with nearly 18 tons of sweet potatoes, but the root vegetables apparently can be stored for a very long time. The Oarai farmer had been planning to ship his produce to wholesalers in January, after which they’d make their way to individual retailers and consumers, so the thieves might be able to take their time and unload the pilfered produce little by little to unsuspecting restaurants or the operators of Japan’s fleets of sweet potato trucks that cruise the streets each autumn.

Source: Ibaraki Shimbun Crosseye via Yahoo! Japan News via Otakomu

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Someone stole a truck filled with copies of Nintendo’s new game

-- Sweet, delicious and extra cold: snow apples from the Japanese alps

-- Twitter user suggests creative idea to prevent umbrella theft, receives ovation from netizens

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

15 Comments
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Sweet potato is just that delicious.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sweet potatoes are delicious and Japan is relatively safe, but that doesn't mean you can leave your doors unlocked.

It seems to me that 15 tons of stolen anything would be somewhat easy to track down.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

15 tons is not a small amount to get rid of. The thrives must have connections to pass them into.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Mean thieves stealing from a farmer for easy pickings.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

On Sept 30, a farmer in Ibaraki City reported that 2.7 tons of harvested sweet potatoes had been stolen from his facility, and investigators are now looking into the possibility that the two crimes were carried out by the same thieves.

Damn, Ibaraki sweet potato mafia strikes again....surely the black market for sweet potatoes cant be that big.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

15 tons is large amount. Somebody saw something that night.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is an exceptionally organized outfit, not a couple of opportunists in kei-trucks. To shift 15 tonnes in a timely manner, you'd need a sizeable truck, or two even, and a forklift (or an army of men - I dare anyone here to carry scores of 20 kilo containers and not be stretchered out of the farmyard).

Farmer should either buy motion sensors or get himself a couple of mean dogs.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

At 15 tons, you're talking about roughly the size of 7 cars or elephants, gone in less than 48 hours.

Not only would someone have to know that he even had that amount in his shed, but they had to also know how to move it cleanly and fast.

I say you find those guys and start up a moving company instead. Never mind potatoes.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Bungle, you seriously stating a grown man cant lift 20kg? lol

definitely organized but easily doable with couple of tracks , besides I bet farmer has over exaggerated by like 30% ...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Brings new meaning to, "HOT POTATO"

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Alex

...I dare anyone here to carry scores of 20 kilo containers...

I worked for a coal merchant during the high school holidays and carried many 40 kilo bags of coal over the course of a day. Not the 375 needed to shift all those sweet potatoes, though. Good luck carrying 15 tonnes all by yourself!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Those yakiimo trucks roving around are not exactly staffed by the best and most upstanding citizens of Japan. I'm sure this will help their margins plenty.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

In my opinion, people who steal farm produce and livestock are the worst. I've grown sweet potatoes in my yard and let me tell you, it takes a lot of time and effort from seeds to your plate only to be taken away by some chump. Lowlife good for nothings. I hope the farmer's gonna be okay

1 ( +2 / -1 )

it takes a lot of time and effort from seeds to your plate 

Now that's where you're going wrong. You grow sweet potatoes from slips, not seeds!

And folk who steal other folk's crops are scum.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I imagine the 15 ton of sweet potatoes are on a slow boat to North Korea via China. Smugglers have to supply goods for hundreds of markets in North Korea. Like the tons of apples stolen in previous years with no trace.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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