Japan Today

Convenience store employee in coma after trying to stop shoplifter from escaping


A 61-year-old woman who works part-time at a convenience store was in a coma Saturday after being injured while trying to stop a shoplifter driving away in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture.

According to police, the suspect, identified as Sunao Yokoyama, 36, entered the Lawson store at around 3:30 p.m. Friday, Sankei reported. Surveillance camera footage showed him picking up some comic books and then leaving the store without going to the cash register to pay.

Police said the woman employee walked out after Yokoyama and as he got into a car, she tried to open the driver's seat door. However, Yokoyama drove off and the woman fell down.

A police patrol car caught up with Yokoyama about 20 minutes later. Yokoyama was quoted by police as saying he wanted to read the comic books but had no money to pay for them.

The woman was taken to hospital with head injuries and her condition remains critical.

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This incident is very unfortunate but the rule of thumb is let them go. Never assume you can handle the situation on your own. It is not worth your life. Injuries could have far reaching consequences. I hope she wakes up from the coma and gets well really soon.

9 ( +9 / -1 )

I hope he gets an attempted murder charge

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

This lady was brave, but also pretty dumb. Are a couple of comic books worth your life? I hope she recovers.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Even though he didn't actually hit her, I consider this a hit and run especially since he did nothing to help her. Lock him accident or not.

5 ( +9 / -5 )

A manga book is not worthy for the thief to shoplift, nor for the store employee to risk losing her life. People should read these kinds of news so they can learn from other people's mistakes. Obviously they do not have the time.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Yokoyama in Chiba Prefecture was quoted by police as saying "he wanted to read the comic books but had no money to pay for them." wow wapos

1 ( +5 / -4 )

She should have just taken note of the license plate number of the car.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Lazy ass scumball could have killed the poor woman.  I hope they don’t him off too easily

3 ( +7 / -4 )

geez all she need to do was get a licence plate and the stores security cameras, the police can do the rest. no need to be a hero over a couple of comics

1 ( +5 / -4 )

You often see those who browse tabloid magazines, comic books and such in convenience stores despite a cautionary note like "Tachiyomi Okotowari" or "No Browsing Without Buying." Yeah, they don't look like giving a damn about the sign at all and keep browsing. What a brazen-faced people they are! Oddly enough, no salesclerk can give them a warning, though just only making faces.

I think the suspect was one of them. Only difference was that he run off with the comic books looking for trouble. Strangely enough, the woman employee also went beyond her powers to take back stolen comic books and ended up getting a serious injury. Yes, she shouldn't have done it only for comic books. At any rate, it's cost both of them a lot.

Best wishes for her speedy recovery.

3 ( +6 / -3 )


In which convenience store did you see that sign? In twenty-five years I've not seen a single one in any 7-11, Lawson's or Family Mart. The staff couldn't care less how long you stand there and read, as far as I've noticed.

-1 ( +4 / -6 )

I hope they put him under the wheel until he reach a critical condition that the poor women suffer

-2 ( +4 / -6 )


Not only do they have signs, some places even have periodic announcements not to tachiyomi.

3 ( +6 / -3 )


Where? I'm not trolling, I'm interested. Never heard of such a thing in Kyushu.....

-3 ( +2 / -6 )

Family Mart regularly does it and so does Sankus. Not sure if its at all stores, but they do at some stores.

0 ( +1 / -1 )


In which convenience store did you see that sign?

Uh, at my favorite convenience store in Kanto region. However, I can't specify here exactly where it is. I'm sure you know what I mean...

Come to think of it, the owner of the store is very meticulous about everything. Yes, he is extremely organized and wanted to have everything neat. So, you're right, what I commented about is probably an exceptional case.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Correction for my Japanese words in my first comment:

"Tachiyomi Okotowari" or "No Browsing Without Buying." should be like: "Tachiyomi wa goenryokudasai" or "No Browsing Without Buying."

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

poor training by the company . for something that happens everyday in stores like this , should be one of the first things taught to employees.

hope the woman recovers and they jail the thief / attempted murderer ( he saw her right and didn't stop )

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Mirai Hayashi

I have just checked out the note. Yes, I clicked on the helpful link in your comment field.

Thanks for the heads-up!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'm not saying the man didn't commit a crime, but what is this "attempted murder" business? This Yokoyama didn't have money to buy comic books and so he just decides to grab one. He makes it all the way to his car. The woman tries to grab his car door. Understandably at this point Yokoyama wants to leave, so he starts the car anyway. For some reason, the woman "fell down" and as it turned out she somehow suffered a head injury. Based on this, everyone decides Yokoyama is responsible for the woman's fate? He's supposed to even notice she suffered a head injury?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"he wanted to read the comic books but had no money to pay for them."

I can't stand it...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This woman called him. Understandably, Yokoyama decided to escape. The woman grabbed the door. [Presumably as the car moved], she fell over and was 轢かれた by the car.

Frankly, I still don't see the murder charges. In fact, I don't think Yokoyama even really noticed much except he got away - when he was called, he presumably started to look in front and can't know less about someone trying to grab his car door from the side.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki

In fact, I don't think Yokoyama even really noticed much except he got away

I think you are making assumptions based on no evidence.

The fact is, this man stole comic books, and tried to flee by car, and because of this action, a woman lays unconscious in a hospital. If she dies, its at the very least, its hit and run, and manslaughter. If he drove away knowing that the woman has a hold of the car, then its hit and run and murder.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The news item on Youtube says that as he was escaping, she grabbed the door handle, fell down, and was hit/run over by the car.

I don't think Yokoyama even really noticed much except he got away

There is no way of knowing whether he knew or not. But the fact is that she was injured as a result of his crime, and therefore he is liable. Not of attempted murder though, it would be something like attempted manslaughter or whatever they call it in Japan.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japan isn't a common law country which is why those of us from common law jurisdictions sometimes have trouble getting our heads around due process here, but... If this woman dies it would be termed "unlawful act manslaughter" in some countries. The unlawful act being this dirt-ball's shoplifting.

If she lives, he'll still be looking at possible GBH charges (or equivalent), as his unlawful act exonerates the staff member of culpability.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

My sympathies are with the woman. I am reminded of the old, tongue-in-cheek saying, "No good deed goes unpunished."

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Not only is it sad to hear that a 61-year old woman is working at a convenience store (I doubt it is because she likes it there), but why would she attempt to chase the guy for a couple of comic books? What could the possible value be? Most of them are printed on dirt cheap recycled paper. It is obviously too bad what has happened to her, but I really can't feel all that sorry for her needlessly putting herself in danger for a handful of yen.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Not only is it sad to hear that a 61-year old woman is working at a convenience store (I doubt it is because she likes it there), but why would she attempt to chase the guy for a couple of comic books?

You're assuming too much here. She could be related to the owner of the store, or she herself could be the owner. Or maybe had worked there for several years and has chosen to stay past retirement because she wants to. There are plenty of people who choose to work well past retirment age because they want to, not because they have to.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

61 isn't really retirement age and I know of many stores with staff that age. And are you assuming that everyone in Japan lands a white collar desk job by 50

AmidalismApr ?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That's just plain daft. Well-intentioned and honourable but daft. The corporation who own Lawson (who pay him ¥800 an hour) can afford to lose a few thousand yen here and there in shoplifting.

1 ( +2 / -1 )


Thanks for the links Never seen that before. Sorry if I implied I doubted you, Monozuki.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

unfortunately, he won't be charged with murder cause he had no intent to murder. the reason they can charge him with murder in other countries is that they have laws implying intent, i.e. if you hurt or kill someone while committing a crime, it is implied that you intended to do so.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

*her, not him

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Stewart Gale

Although I wouldn't encourage people to go chasing after thieves, I don't think what she did should be construed as "daft". I think her intentions were honorable. For all we know, this guy could have been a repeat offender and costing the store a lot of money. Many of these stores are franchised to private owners, and the store owners don't make much money after paying franchise royalties. So what you may consider a few hundred yen in loss revenue could actually add up to hundreds of thousands of yen over time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mirai, I said it was honourable. It was stupid though because as others have said they have surveillance footage of the suspect and his license plate. Let the police deal with it and don't put yourself in danger like this.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why not just read them in the store? That's what everyone else does.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Read the rest of the post...a lot of stores don't allow reading in the stores anymore.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Sorry if I implied I doubted you, Monozuki.

Not at all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And a woman lies in the hospital because of a lack of common sense. I know I'll get thumbed-down for that statement but it's true. What did she think she would do if she got the door open? Yell at him some more?! I know it's standard procedure at most convenience stores (heck, at ANY store) not to attempt to apprehend someone who commits a crime in the store. This lady apparently felt she knew better and now lies in a coma because of it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Poor decision by this staff. Not only was this NOT worth her life but there is still the threat that her company insurance will not cover her.

You see, she went OUTside the store where she was injured. Had the incident taken place INSIDE the store the company would be responsible for her medical costs and time off BUT she left the premises and was injured doing something dangerously irresponsible.

This is the reality and does not reflect how I feel about it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

woman dies it would be termed "unlawful act manslaughter" in some countries. The unlawful act being this dirt-ball's shoplifting.

Actually, the correct term for this is Manslaughter by an unlawful and dangerous act. The act of shoplifting is unlawful, of course, but it can hardly be construed to be dangerous.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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