Upon hearing “A man was arrested in Japan for stealing a staggering number of women’s…,” a lot of people’s brains would auto-finish the sentence with “panties.” Maybe some people’s minds would jump to “bras,” but in any case there’s a pretty good chance that if a theft’s summary starts like that, it’s going to involve some sort of lingerie.
So it’s surprising, in multiple ways, to hear that police in Osaka have arrested a man and are charging him for stealing not undergarments, but the very outermost layer of clothing.
Officers from the Osaka Prefectural Police’s Abeno Precinct have placed Yoshio Yoda, a 51-year-old newspaper deliveryman, under arrest for a series of thefts of women’s raincoats. Specifically, Yoda went after what are called kappa in Japanese, plastic or vinyl ponchos worn over one’s clothing when going out on rainy days.
According to investigators, Yoda would follow women whom he saw riding bicycles, or look for bicycles in parking lots with attached additional child seats or frames with traditionally feminine colors, under the logic that their riders were more likely to be women. He’d then check to see if the owner had left a raincoat in the basket, and if they had, he’d swipe it. As for why, well, in Yoda’s own words:
While this might at first seem to be connected to the dubious folk wisdom in Japan that the color of a woman’s umbrella matches the color of her underwear, Yoda explained that it’s the clinginess of the wet kappa that piques his peculiar interest.
His modus operandi of taking unattended rain coats out of bicycle baskets would seem to indicate that he was only able to steal them when the weather had cleared up after raining earlier in the day, or perhaps from covered lots attached to train stations, office buildings, or shopping centers. Even with those limiting factors, though, a search of Yoda’s home turned up roughly 360 raincoats, as Yoda says that he has been doing this since “around 2009.”
▼ There’s a surprisingly large number of duplicate patterns, which could be the result of victims having bought their raincoats at the same stores in the Higashi Sumiyoshi ward where Yoda operated.
The police believe that around 320 of those were taken during a span from December 2013 to May of this year, during which stymied investigators took to calling the then-unidentified perpetrator “Raincoat Man.” As another shocking element of the case, based on an average estimated cost of 3,500 yen, investigators calculated the total damage from Yoda’s crimes during that period at 1.12 million yen.
Sources: Sankei News via Livedoor News via Otakomu, YouTube/MBS NEWS, YouTube/関西テレビNEWS
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