crime

Wakayama woman arrested for switching price tags at supermarket

43 Comments
By SoraNews24

Bit by bit, self-checkout systems have been popping up in Japanese conveniences stores and supermarkets over the past few years. With these developments, some have worried whether the rapidly aging population here would be able to adapt to the new technology.

However, it seems some have adapted to them so well that they’ve used it to enter a life of electronic crime. This was the case for one unidentified 83-year-old resident of Kainan City, Wakayama Prefecture, who now faces charges of computer fraud.

When self-checkouts were installed in her local supermarket, the savvy shopper noticed that it scanned the half-price sticker on her item and automatically deducted the price. Realizing that the sticker alone was the key to making that particular scanner give her a 50-percent discount, she simply peeled one off another product and stuck it onto something else she was going to buy.

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Some supermarkets put barcodes directly on their stickers to prevent such fraud.

The woman did it again and again on future visits to the supermarket. However, on Dec 4 at approximately 6:50 p.m., she was affixing a half-off sticker to a carton of eggs valued at 246 yen, when suddenly a security guard apprehended her at the checkout.

Unbeknown to her, the manager of this supermarket was very thorough with checking the sales records and noticed that items were being sold at discount which shouldn’t have been. By the time she was ready to pull the egg job, he had already stationed guards to monitor the self-checkouts and catch anyone in the act.

After being turned over to the police, the woman admitted to her crimes both past and present that totaled three incidents which, based on her most recent caper, must have resulted in upwards of 500 yen in damages. On Dec 6, she was released on her own recognizance and currently awaits formal charges to be pressed against her.

Readers of the news condemned her actions, but also couldn’t help but be impressed with her ingenuity.

“Seriously?! Those stickers work no matter what barcode they’re used with.”

“83-years-old? Pretty late to go bad. She probably wasn’t poor either, just wanted the discounts.”

“I never even knew those stickers worked at self-checkouts.”

“You can use those stickers at self-checkouts?! I’m always embarrassed when the clerk announces it.”

“She’s pretty smart.”

“Computer fraud…at 83…”

“Who knew you could put half-off stickers on whatever you want?”

Of course, as this woman found the hard way, being able to put stickers on whatever item you want doesn’t mean you should do it. Considering her age, the small monetary damage, and the fact that she cooperated with the authorities, she’s probably looking at a suspended sentence wherein she must keep her distance from self-checkouts.

Source: Yomiuri Shimbun

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Revolutionary new A.I. self-checkout system in Japan calculates all your items with one glance

-- Elderly pickpocket “Calling Tamako” finally apprehended after string of Tokyo thefts

-- Japanese bakeries can now use a Robocop-style bread recognition checkout system

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

43 Comments
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A fair enough settlement -- in America, she would have been overpowered by 2 or 3 burly security guards and wrestled to the floor, then tasered (or shot!) if she showed any resistance...

0 ( +18 / -18 )

83 years young. She's probably been getting by in life gaming the system for decades.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

I saw this dastardly trick on "Sukatto Japan"! Who would've thought that art would one day imitate life?? So simple but yet absolutely genius.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Not a smart plan at all since the cashiers should have a list of the discounted items. So she would have been caught sooner or later.

For an old woman over a few hundred yen I really think publicly shaming her and banning her for life from the shop would have been more appropriate than getting police and the courts involved. She may well be in poverty.

18 ( +24 / -6 )

Can people read : we're talking about 500 yens ...

And the system of sales can be manipulated by a 6 year old playing stickers. I did that around that age without knowing.

Once I had a discount without knowing because someone had put one of those stickers on a product (not in Japan).

Abe and co can steal billions of yens but that grandma at to be arrested for 2 days.

Shame, shame, shame on Nippon justice system. A fine/damages would have been enough, especially if first time offender.

And going on JT by the way, was that necessary since I am dozens of cases happen everyday.

At least, they were nice enough to not throw her name to the mob.

28 ( +30 / -2 )

Hell, she isnt going to be taken to court, she will get the equivalent of a slap on the hand, and pay some fine, and restitution, and probably never be allowed to go back to that store again.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Abe and co can steal billions of yens but that grandma at to be arrested for 2 days.

Steal 500 yen, you are a thief, steal billions, and you get to be PM!"

24 ( +25 / -1 )

Here in Australia all the self serve check outs register the weight of each product, which makes this kind of petty crime impossible.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

Unidentified item in the journalism area.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

at least she wasnt half assed about being dishonest

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Here in Australia all the self serve check outs register the weight of each product, which makes this kind of petty crime impossible.

Still a bored country..

LOOOOOOOOL !!..

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

Generally people are driven by poverty to consider doing such things.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

The woman did it again and again on future visits to the supermarket. However, on Dec 4 at approximately 6:50 p.m., she was affixing a half-off sticker to a carton of eggs valued at 246 yen, when suddenly a security guard apprehended her at the checkout.

News at 11:People resort to depression era food strategies in a depression.

She should have dreamt bigger , like for example a certain firm that starts with "D" and shall not be named, and defrauded a nation of trillions of yen on a sporting event scheme.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

They should take her age and circumstances into account. If found to be living in poverty but otherwise of good character, admonish her, let her go, but keep an eye on her. And have the local neighborhood rally together to help her out.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Kansai is bargaining Central in Japan where people try to negotiate something that is 10yen and get it for 5yen. Let her go since she is old and at least paid some money. Then ban her from that supermarket.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

If she multiplied her crime by millions/billions of yen she could become PM of Japan! or at least henchman like Kawaii & co.

The poor are penalised and the rich elites rewarded!!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Do the hustle

Here in Australia all the self serve check outs register the weight of each product, which makes this kind of petty crime impossible.

How would that make this "crime" impossible? The price of the eggs was fixed, not charged by weight. And, the sticker is read like a coupon, reducing that fixed price by 50%. Weighing the product would have no effect on what she did.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Fighto!

Not a smart plan at all since the cashiers should have a list of the discounted items. So she would have been caught sooner or later.

Nope. Those stickers are put on various items at various times, depending on their expiration dates. (They may use varying and increasing amounts, 20%, 30%, etc, as the date approaches, as well.)

You'll also see them on prepared foods and bentos late in the day, as they'd prefer to sell them at cost or even slight loss than throw them away.

There is no "list" of those items like there would be for advertised sale items.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The moral of this news story: don’t try that at your local supermarket.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This very common in Japan dating back to the 90s

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Not a smart plan at all since the cashiers should have a list of the discounted items. So she would have been caught sooner or later.

What part of self-checkout did you miss?

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Why is the even in the news? The manager should simply have asked her to pay up, and then banned her from the store.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Life!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Disgraceful from the “ manager” and the supermarket. Should have asked if she had trouble and if so give her a nice Christmas present. No more compassion in this world and in Japan they always attack and prey on the weak.

500 yen, what a hero that manager, give him a gold medal. Better do his job by stopping to throw away 20 % or more of the food and use less plastic junk.

calling police on a 83 year old is disgusting.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

God forbid the overpriced super markets lose any money

6 ( +7 / -1 )

and the guards said Swarm....Swarm....get that 83 year old bad girl"

5 ( +5 / -0 )

3RENSHO........in America...it is not a crime anymore' just take what you want

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I've always felt they should give customers a discount for using self checkout, after all these profitable shops save money by employing less people, so if you give yourself a small discount I think that's fair because we do the work of a cashier without the pay

8 ( +9 / -1 )

a crime is a crime unless you are a politician then it's part of your job!

83 yr old woman...Japanese have no heart.

No need to call the police.

Just forbid her from shopping there if you have to.

I would have given her a food parcel and sent her on her way.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Dan Lavender - spoken with true common sense.

Speaking frankly to her in private, showing security cam footage and mentioning the "Police" next time would have been more than enough.

And then given her something would have been a true gesture of kindness, albeit with a stern warning.

From my experiences in lesser non-felony matters involving the police, the rigmarole in this case would have been off the charts I'm sure.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

No excuse for what she did, but her pension is probably about 50-60 000 yen a month. Not enough to live on.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The cheapest eggs in the supermarket will be less than 246 yen. I therefore doubt this is a very poor person doing this purely out of need. I think the money saved and the thrill (dopamine hit) of stealing, with little perceived risk of being caught, is the motivator here.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

A fair enough settlement -- in America, she would have been overpowered by 2 or 3 burly security guards and wrestled to the floor, then tasered (or shot!) if she showed any resistance...

This reminds me of "O Brother Where Art Thou?" when Everett was punched and told to "Stay out of the Woolworth's".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Even at half price, ¥246 yen eggs is hardly savvy shopping for a pensioner. Unless she’s very picky and wants overpriced ヨド or the like, she’s much better off waiting until one of her neighborhood スーパー does one of their frequent ¥100 deals when the total value of your basket exceeds ¥1,000. Re: naming and shaming; it’s no doubt meant as a warning to countless others who are up to the same tricks. Compassion deficit, yes! But petty crime adds up and all of us end up paying more to make up for the assault on their bottom line.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@kohakuebisu....( I think the money saved and the thrill (dopamine hit) of stealing, with little perceived risk of being caught, is the motivator here).

She is 83 for goodness sake!She did it for the thrill?! Don't be daft !

2 ( +3 / -1 )

3RENSHO

Well, that gave me a chortle. So true!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

switching price tags

Ha-ha., petty crime. But no-no. :‑(

0 ( +0 / -0 )

She’ll be writing her book soon too...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fighto!

Not a smart plan at all since the cashiers should have a list of the discounted items. So she would have been caught sooner or later.

The article says this was one of these automated self-checkouts (which alas seem to be the future), so there is no cashier involved.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You can save a fortune without cheating by knowing all your stores and the sales or special prices they have. I shop at five different stores for food. Save a fortune and do not have to peel and restick tags. How the heck did she peel those anyway. They tear holes in the plastic underneath.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow, One smart 83 year old. If you find something that works (not that I support stealing), don't overdo it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why bother keeping someone in custody for 2 nights for such a petty crime. Ridiculous.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hahaha, gotta love that country.

Poor old lady for stealing $5 and being kept in jail for that. She is old enough to have paid for everything simply by just living in that country. If I was the manager I would have left her to go and told her to come and see me if in trouble for food. Here in the USA, they throw away food at crazy rates.

Gotta love that self-confession of this lady, hahaha there you go crime solved.

How deep their hypocrisy goes ...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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