crime

340 wallets, 100 smartphones stolen at Waseda Academy's summer training camp

37 Comments

Police are investigating the theft of smartphones and wallets during a summer training camp organized by the cram school operator Waseda Academy last weekend.

According to police, 340 students had their wallets stolen, along with about 100 smartphones, Fuji TV reported Tuesday. The Waseda Academy was using Hotel Shiga Kogen in Nagano Prefecture, where their middle school students had begun their summer program on the night of Aug 8.

Camp counselors had taken the possessions of the 340 students who were staying for the program and had stored them in cardboard boxes and left the boxes in an unlocked room at the hotel. On Aug 9, around 5:30 a.m., a staff member noticed the items were missing.

Police said they are examining surveillance camera footage to see who went into the room.

Around 4,200 students are taking part in the Waseda Academy summer program at several Nagano hotels until Wednesday, but no other incidents were reported at any of the other hotels.

On Tuesday, Waseda Academy director Yutaka Yamamoto told a news conference that the academy would make full restitution to the students.

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37 Comments
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So they were stolen all at once, somebody hit the jackpot. Look for a young, disgruntled male employee.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

WTF...Okay I get (sort of) why student may be required to check in their smart phones, but wallets? Why did people have to check in their wallets? What a STUPID policy.....you're just begging for something like this to happen.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Absurd. That is like going on a cruise ship and having your pass port confiscated. What was the logic of taking their wallets. If they were so concerned about phones, then invest in some Jamming equipment like lots of big hospitals do.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Hotels usually have a front desk safety deposit box. Should have left the cardboard box at the front desk.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

So what would be worse as a middle schooler?

Losing your wallet, losing your phone, or having to spend your summer vacation training at a cram school out in the countryside?

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Changing cultures! The dilution of traditionally honorable culture with something far short of that.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

left the boxes in an unlocked room

This is all we need to know. Considering the hotel almost certainly had safes in each room, and certainly had a larger safe at the front desk for valuables, this was remarkable. They didn't even lock the door to the room??

Generally, when people collect your valuables for safekeeping, we reasonably expect that they will make some small effort to them safe.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

MarkG - Changing cultures! The dilution of traditionally honorable culture with something far short of that.

Wow! You conclude this from one act of theft? Amazing!

It shouldn't take the flops long to find the culprit with surveillance cameras everywhere. I have to admit though. It was pretty stupid leaving them all in an unlocked room. They took the kids' wallets for security and left them in an unlocked room? That's hilariously Baka!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

340 wallets and 100 phones.. that wouldn't be easy to carry off subtly.. hope they find the person, or most likely people that did this.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

How are they going to make restitution unless they wrote down the contents of all the wallets when they received them, which I highly doubt they did?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

People pay a lot of money to have their children taught by these fools. It's a pity they don't have a class on common sense.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

@MyTimeIsYourTime

Absurd. That is like going on a cruise ship and having your pass port confiscated.

Actually, when taking a tour with a Japanese outfitter, its standard practice for the tour leader from the agency to collect and hold all passports. As they are responsible for holding the hand of everyone on the tour, keeping the passports is to prevent people from losing it and creating a huge problem for the tour operator with having to sort it out, which usually takes a couple days at a J-embassy potentially very far away. And with only one or two tour leaders on hand sometimes, a pickpocket or a clumsy tourist could ruin the tour for everyone.

I imagine this was the logic of Waseda, that the staff could be more responsible than the students they were taking care of.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

there's nagano for ya! that's probably 3 million yen or more!!! Bonanza!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How are they going to make restitution unless they wrote down the contents of all the wallets when they received them, which I highly doubt they did?

A lot in Japan still go by the honor system. When my apartment was broken into and stuff taken, the police asked me what was stolen and how much the items were worth. No receipts were ever asked for and a lot of the prices I said were just guessing as years had passed. My apartment gave me the full amount of the items quoted as they took the blame for the faulty lock system.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Papi2013: my experience of personal and property crime living equally about 20 years in US and Japan: In US: credit card number stolen 3 times; In Japan: umbrella stolen once, my car was grazed and damaged in a supermarket by a woman driver who drove away without stopping and I could not catch her, my car front fender was prominently dented in a Japanese mall parking lot and driver did not leave a note or any other indication. Just saying,,,

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Is it the Hotel Shiga Kogen? Because what shows up using these terms is a Hotel Shiga Kogen Prince, which would be very classy for such a camp.

The Japanese media are using expressions like 長野県・志賀高原のホテル, which is a Hotel in Shiga Kogen (place) in Nagano.

@Supey11AUG. 12, 2015 - 11:10AM JST

Actually, when taking a tour with a Japanese outfitter, its standard practice for the tour leader from the agency to collect and hold all passports. As they are responsible for holding the hand of everyone on the tour, keeping the passports is to prevent people from losing it and creating a huge problem for the tour operator with having to sort it out, which usually takes a couple days at a J-embassy potentially very far away. And with only one or two tour leaders on hand sometimes, a pickpocket or a clumsy tourist could ruin the tour for everyone.

In addition to this, while it is hard to be sure without identifying the exact hotel (read above), a stereotypical practice in such camps is to book large rooms and accomodate students by the score in them. Cheap and easy to control compared to them being scattered in countless single or twin rooms.

In such a case, collecting the wallet is a control measure that prevents the kids from sneaking out too far and getting into trouble (which would be blamed on the cram school), and collecting all valuables is intended to keep them from being lost in those large rooms. A smartphone is missing - who stole it of the dozens, or nobody?

Further, this is a cram school where students are supposed to cram for 10 hours a day to get their parents' money worth. Smartphones are distracting and should there be paper tests, they are also great cheat sheets. Might as well get them out of the way at the outset.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Mirai Hayashi

Why did people have to check in their wallets? What a STUPID policy.....you're just begging for something like this to happen.

Yes. I share the same view. It's like holding a candle to the sun. Let alone leaving them in an unlocked room. It's just like asking for trouble.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

sometimes you get thumbs down for the most strange things on here.

340 wallets and 100 phones isn't easy or small to carry away... thats just a fact.. how odd.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

For more amusement:

From: http://www.waseda-ac.co.jp/info/others/post_123.html

この度の弊社主催夏期合宿における盗難事件につきまして、以下の宿泊ホテルは事件とは関係ございませんので、どうかご安心ください。

中1の苗場プリンスホテル、中2のホテルシャレードイン志賀・志賀ハイランドホテル・志賀ハイランドホテルアネックス・岩菅ホテル、中3のホテルこだま・ホテルダイヤモンド志賀・ホテルホゥルス志賀高原・志賀一の瀬荘・志賀グランドホテル・志賀ホワイトホテル・ヴィラ一の瀬・ホテル山楽・志賀一井ホテル・ホテル金栄・ホテルアララギ・ホテルマウント志賀・志賀パークホテル・ホリデープラザ志賀高原・志賀高原プリンスホテル

この度は多大なるご心配ならびにご迷惑をおかけして、大変申し訳ございません。心よりお詫び申し上げます。

Translation: With regards to the theft incident in our summer camp, please be reassured that the below hotels are not affected.

[Names]

We are greatly sorry for the worry and inconvenience this incident had caused.

Why don't you just tell us which hotel it WAS.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Unhappy holiday camp .. wish they get back their phones and money

0 ( +0 / -0 )

WTH what brainiac left valuables, others'valuables, in an unlocked room???? Is this an "elite" cram school?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Most schools collect the children's wallets at summer camp so they don't lose their wallets or waste their money on vending machines all day. It's better if you just say no wallets. Why do kids need phones and wallets at summer school anyway?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

the academy would make full restitution to the students.

. . . . well I should say so. It would be absurd not to.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Fire the fools who left the valuables unsecured. Try cramming some common sense into them while you're at it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"Police said they are examining surveillance camera footage to see who went into the room."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Supey, I have never once turned over my passport to a Japanese flag leading tour kid.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Surely some of the students were smart enough to have activated the tracking option that most smartphones come with these days? It's one of the first things I set up when I get a new phone or tablet.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Surely there must be an iphone in that bunch with FindMyiphone installed.perhaps they can locate its whereabouts through that..

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Obviously dotoku isn't on the syllabus.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would imagine 90% of the phones have GPS and 70% of those are smartphones. You would think they could pinpoint the exact location as soon as they noticed them missing. The theif would not be turning off all the phones straight away nor carrying a large metal box. You should be able to track the phones right up till they lose reception. If the perpetrator is stupid then they may even turn the smartphones on when attempting to wipe the phone without being in a reception contained room.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

News said that because all phones were turned off when collected, they can't be tracked.

The person/s that did not follow the instructions of the Academy that said they collected items should be stored under locked conditions needs to go back to school themselves.

How can they make full restitution for photos, and other information stored in a person's phone? Of course it's the responsibility of the user to make backups but that doesn't absolve the the ones whose actions allowed the items to be stolen of their responsibility.

If I was in charge, I would allow the kids to keep wallets and phones on their persons. They are not elementary school kids and should be learning to be responsible for their own stuff. Any problems with using phones during class etc can be dealt with in other ways.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If this was in the US the company would be sued out of business.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I assume camp counselors asked students to turn off their smartphones before storing them in the unlocked room - which prevented their owners to track down via GPS where exactly they were taken to.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I was wondering about phone tracking and find my phone apps. Can a phone easily be turned off, or should I say completely off? I have read that the only way to really turn off a phone is to remove the battery, not easy with an iphone. Snowden makes journalists turn off their phones and place them in a fridge, which I assume is earthed (grounded).

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Why would they take the wallets of people? As weird as it sounds it sort of sounds like a strange scam. The university needs to replace all of that, they are legally responsible for the safe keeping of that property unless the students signed something to say otherwise.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Waseda employees probably stole it themselves. They are the morons who left the door open, and would have known the door was open, and are the ones who made the moronic rule to confiscate wallets (I can understand phones to an extent, though they should NOT have the right). Now who wants to bet they're busy figuring out a way to weasel out of responsibility and compensation?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Miss I had 400,000 in my wallet ,surely some of those can be traced immediately

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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