crime

Fleeing shoplifter drags security guard along with car

41 Comments

A 58-year-old woman suspected of shoplifting fled from a supermarket in Hokkaido and dragged a security guard along with her car for about 100 meters, police said Friday.

According to police, Rumiko Sakon was observed shoplifting melons and other goods at a supermarket in Hakodate City, at around 10:30 a.m. Thursday. Hokkaido Shimbun reported that a 62-year-old security guard who witnessed the crime followed Sakon out of the store and called out to her to stop.

However, Sakon ignored him and got into a car. As she drove off, the guard grabbed onto the car's door handle and was dragged along for about 100 meters.

Police said the guard sustained heavy injuries to his back.

Sakon was charged with theft and attempted murder. She was quoted by police as saying, "I just didn't want to get caught for shoplifting."

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Last yr, I saw a man putting inside his underarm shirt, a boxed goodie which I really couldn't exactly point what as I saw it while going to the tofu section of the supermarket. he looked like a gaijin and in that place aside from Chinese and Brazilian, there are a big number of Filipinos too. I didn't inform any staff and once pretended to look for something just to check if there was an unusual bulge under his arm even if he's wearing an oversize shirt. Seeing that bulge, I positioned myself near the cashier. Maybe he was aware that I saw him. Instead of going right to the cashier, he turned back for some minutes. When he emerged, he went right to the cashier and I noticed there was no more bulged. I have averted a crime and I let the cashier know what I see. I never saw the man again. I still can remember his face if I see him again. Japan living is expensive but there are times and hours when you can buy goods in half their quoted price. No need to steal.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Sakon was charged with theft and attempted murder.

Out of interest, what boxes does one have to check to be charged with attempted murder? The woman admitted that her intent was to escape, not to kill or cause GBH...

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I think the guard needs to take responsibility for his own foolishness. Did he think he was Superman and could stop the car by the door handle?

And if he gets the excuse for his stupidity of being hyped on adrenaline, then she does too. Sorry, but she most certainly did not go to the store with intent to kill and she did not drive away with intent to kill. Its not that she was unaware that the guy was stuck on her door handle, its that he was NOT stuck on her door handle. He refused to let go. How is she to know he is even touching the car? Its his own foolishness for not letting go and just getting the plate number. Risking his life for stolen melons is most certainly not in his job description.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

“I just didn’t want to get caught for shoplifting.”

What a dummy! Now you got caught for attempted murder....way to go! (sarcasm)

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Rumiko should sell her car and buy a bicycle for shopping when she gets out of jail. As for the attempted murder charge, I doubt she was trying to kill the security guard, she was just hoping he would let go of her car door handle asshe drove off.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

A.N. OtherMay. 30, 2015 - 08:42AM JST Out of interest, what boxes does one have to check to be charged with attempted murder? The woman admitted that her intent was to escape, not to kill or cause GBH...

Japanese law is based on German law and doesn't care much about intent, but rather about consequences. If the consequences of your actions were to almost kill someone then the closest translation would be "attempted murder", but a better translation would be "actions likely to cause someone's death".

This underlying difference in legal philosophies can be quite confusing for foreigners from some countries from countries where criminal intent is required, but in practical terms they're actually pretty similar.

This type of case is tricky because initially the woman wasn't responsible for the guard grabbing onto the car, however once the guard was caught onto the car and the women didn't stop she became responsible for continuing to drive in a way that endangered the guard.

That may seem like a fine line, but consider if you hit someone with your car and they were on the hood of your car. If you stopped immediately you might get off without blame if you could show there was no way to avoid the accident (good luck with that though), but if you continued driving you'd be clearly guilty of reckless driving in a way that endangered someone's life.

On a personal note - this is the second time this year I've seen stories of Japanese guards trying to take on cars. Would someone PLEASE tell Japanese guards that a 70kg human is no match for even a tiny kei car pulling with the power of about 60 horses. Their is a clear line between idiocy and bravery here, and the guards are clearly on the "idiocy" side of the line.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Japanese law is based on German law and doesn't care much about intent, but rather about consequences. If the consequences of your actions were to almost kill someone then the closest translation would be "attempted murder", but a better translation would be "actions likely to cause someone's death".

What you describe is closer in description to GBH than attempted murder, but I get your point.

This type of case is tricky because initially the woman wasn't responsible for the guard grabbing onto the car, however once the guard was caught onto the car and the women didn't stop she became responsible for continuing to drive in a way that endangered the guard.

Indeed. Focusing on consequences brings causation into the mix, and then it gets messy.

That may seem like a fine line, but consider if you hit someone with your car and they were on the hood of your car. If you stopped immediately you might get off without blame if you could show there was no way to avoid the accident (good luck with that though), but if you continued driving you'd be clearly guilty of reckless driving in a way that endangered someone's life.

That analogy is a little different from the current situation. In your analogy the hapless victim of my driving had no agency (they got hit whatever), but the security guard acted independently by attempting to apprehend the woman in the car. Ergo, novus actus interveniens.

How much should I charge Sakon in legal fees...?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How much should I charge Sakon in legal fees...? That'd be pro-bono..I suppose ? I don,t think she'll walk though.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Serrano

she was just hoping he would let go of her car door handle asshe drove off.

Its quite likely she had no idea he had hold of the car door handle. From inside the car, while driving, how could she? If he did, his hand would have been extended and his head would have been an arm's length behind it. If it was on the driver's side, she might have a view in the mirror, but in her panic its quite likely she never looked. If on the passenger side she would have had the mirror view again, but likely she never looked. She would additionally perhaps be able to see the guy's head directly if she looked over her own shoulder, but she would not be able to see his hand on the handle. And I say again, he was not STUCK on the car and even if he was, how would she know that?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Attempted murder is a bit harsh here side the security guard voluntarily grabbed the door handle, could he not have let go? Another have-a-go hero who is paying for his slightly reckless and inadvisable actions in hospital.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I think the guard needs to take responsibility for his own foolishness. Did he think he was Superman and could stop the car by the door handle?

No. While it was his decision to grab the handle, he was doing so in his position as a security guard, trying to apprehend someone in the process of a crime against the place he was assigned to keep secure. If she had not been in the act of committing that crime, he would not be hurt. His injuries are a direct result of her decision to commit a crime against the store. If she had not been robbing the store, he would not be hurt. As such, the fault entirely lies with her, and he is the victim.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

No. While it was his decision to grab the handle, he was doing so in his position as a security guard, trying to apprehend someone in the process of a crime against the place he was assigned to keep secure. If she had not been in the act of committing that crime, he would not be hurt. His injuries are a direct result of her decision to commit a crime against the store. If she had not been robbing the store, he would not be hurt. As such, the fault entirely lies with her, and he is the victim.

Otherwise known as the "but for" test. This is the angle the prosecutors will try to work.

The defence will of course work the angle that the security guard acted negligently by grabbing the handle. Perhaps he was only authorised to operate within the shop premises; by acting outside of his remit (and I'm not saying he was), Sakon could theoretically sue the supermarket for criminal damage (to her car), and had he apprehended her, the security guard would be looking at a battery rap.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

She was quoted by police as saying, “I just didn’t want to get caught for shoplifting.”

If ya can't do the time, don't do the crime, simple.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The defence will of course work the angle that the security guard acted negligently by grabbing the handle. Perhaps he was only authorised to operate within the shop premises; by acting outside of his remit

They can try, but the fact that he wouldn't have been grabbing the handle if she had not been doing the crime will be the determining point. Japanese law often works that way. For example, if I'm driving a car without a license, and someone runs into my car in a manner that would be primarily their fault if I had a license, I still bear the brunt of the blame as the accident would not have happened if I were not on the road.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Strangerland

Japanese law often works that way.

It does. And I disagree strongly. The thought is not based on fairness. Its based on sending a message to other would-be criminals and that is not fair to the accused one bit. In fact, its not even fair to security guards. In no way should the security guard's action be reinforced. It should be condemned. First of all, because it was stupid and wrong. And only after that, we need to send a message to people that a few melons are not worth getting yourself killed over.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

From a practical point of view, it's hard to imagine how or why the guard allowed her to even get near her car before he challenged her. Why not immediately after she left the shop?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I might be from the old school but I remember back in the days, when someone steals or does a hit and run, you write the license plate number. Japanese license plate numbers are easier to remember too.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Correct. what you are describing is factual causation. what I am saying is that does not necessarily make her legally culpable.

It does in Japan. I was describing Japanese law.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It does in Japan. I was describing Japanese law.

And often elsewhere, too. However, there must come a point where B's actions are so far removed from A's criminal act that A is no longer culpable - otherwise it would lead to absurd judgements and make a mockery of the legal system.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I recently saw an Indian restaurant guy (I know his job), steal a product. His method was to stand directly behind me, so I also could be blamed. The only reason I didn't report it is that I have found large amounts of money on the street 3x, and when I took them to the Koban, I had to spend at least 45 minutes giving all my personal details. After that, the owners wanted to send something like flowers, but I couldn't arrange a time for job reasons, so it was inconvenient. But, the guy was a hero. After Abe, crime is increasing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why they were doing shoplifting they put their self in troubles, a youngster yes because part of growing up they were curious. But oldies damn head shakes >>>>>>

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The guard's own fault. He does not have the legal powers to make an arrest or to stop someone by force.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I feel compelled to reply.

Strangerland is absolutely correct and people need to remember that the parking lot was (most likely) property of the supermarket and thus within the guards area of patrol.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The guard's own fault. He does not have the legal powers to make an arrest or to stop someone by force.

Are you sure? (I truly don't know)

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The guard's own fault. He does not have the legal powers to make an arrest or to stop someone by force.

Everyone in Japan actually has the right to arrest someone provided a.) you actually saw the crime occur b.) the crime is a penal code violation (which theft is) and c.) you don't already know the suspect's name or address. So I think the guard (and any of us) would be well within our rights to try to stop her.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

M3M3M3 No wrong. Only Police can arrest a person. A citizen can say stop. contain the person but can not use physical force. if you going quote the law make sure you do it correctly.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@John

How is it possible to "contain" somebody without "physical force"?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Police said the guard sustained heavy injuries to his back.

And some Japanese media say the guard "remains unconscious." The woman shoplifter has now ended up paying the damned price for what she has done.

If she had paid truly that kind of money to "melons" and other goods, she would have not ended up paying the high price for her crime.

"A bird cries too late when it is taken" is the perfect proverb for this shoplifter. She really did a dumb thing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Blocking his exit by standing in his way, by locking a doors or gates . By blocking his exit by using a car. But you can not use physical force. If you injure him he can take legal action.But Like any Judge will take his side, the Judge would issues a warning without any conviction to the person who gave the injury. but he will win a compensation case because you not the police. If the police injure him the police will charge him with resisting arrest. A Citizen can not charge another person with resisting arrest. That Why only the police can make a arrest. In the Injured guard case he,s legal rep,s will advise him not to use the term arrest but the word contain and blocking.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Hello again John-san, The relevant law this time is Article 213 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. This is essentially a citizens arrest which exists in most countries including Japan. It's implicity understood that arrest might require reasonable force.

Of course, I don't recommended that anyone ever try to arrest anyone. It is very risky.

Article 213 Any person may arrest a flagrant offender without an arrest warrant.

Article 217 The provisions of Articles 213 to 216 shall apply only when the residence or name of the offender is unknown or when the offender poses a risk of flight with regard to a flagrant offender punishable with a fine of not more than 300,000 yen (20,000 yen, for the time being for offenses other than those violating the Penal Code, the Act on Punishment of Physical Violence and Others and the Act on Penal Provisions related to Economic Activities), misdemeanor imprisonment without work or a petty fine.

http://www.japaneselawtranslation.go.jp/law/detail/?ft=2&re=02&dn=1&yo=criminal+procedure&x=0&y=0&ia=03&ky=&page=2

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

To the letter of law. Reasonable is not physical. Go ahead and do your citizen arrest and if you harm or injure the person some smart lawyer will use this letter of the law. It shake ground you tread when making a Citizen arrest. If you in a Country that allows a citizen to carry a gun you can use the gun to contain the person that would be considered has reasonable force. That if you have a licence to carry a gun in a public place. but if the person run away and you shot him to prevent him escaping that is Physical force and end up being charge yourself.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@John-San

By the same token, there is actually nothing which explicitly states that a police officer may use physical force when arresting someone. Physical force is implicit in the word arrest (to stop someone). The law says that a police officer may arrest a suspect and it also says that an ordinary citizen may arrest a suspect (in limited circumstances). There aren't two separate legal definitions of the word arrest that allow differing levels of physical force depending on who is doing the arresting. An arrest is an arrest is an arrest.

Reasonable is not physical.

It might not be. If someone is not running away and agrees to wait for the police to arrive, even the slightest touching might be unreasonable. But in this case the woman was trying to escape with the melons.

but if the person run away and you shot him to prevent him escaping that is Physical force and end up being charge yourself.

I agree, but even the police would probably be charged for shooting someone like this.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I feel compelled to reply.

*Strangerland is absoto remember that the parking lot was (most likely) property of the supermarket and thlutely correct and people need us within the guards area of patrol.

* Actually, In Japan the crime of shoplifting occurs ONLY WHEN the perpetrator EXITS the main entrance to the shop/supermarket , headed towards the parking or away, NOT before .even when a worker/guard has seen you hide an item where ever. There is always a chance one could change his mind and pay before he/she exits. Worked a lot in supermarkets in Hakodate and the whole of Hokkaido.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The lawyer would not oppose the action but will contest the intent of the action. So if the guard says he tried to arrest the shoplifter instead of containing. It would be very bad for him. I am not talking about the criminal trial. I am concern about the trial that counts for the Guard. The trial where compensation is concern. that why I advise people to think first before making a so call Citizen arrest. Just call the Police

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Its quite likely she had no idea he had hold of the car door handle. From inside the car, while driving, how could she? If he did, his hand would have been extended and his head would have been an arm's length behind it. If it was on the driver's side, she might have a view in the mirror, but in her panic its quite likely she never looked. If on the passenger side she would have had the mirror view again, but likely she never looked. She would additionally perhaps be able to see the guy's head directly if she looked over her own shoulder, but she would not be able to see his hand on the handle. And I say again, he was not STUCK on the car and even if he was, how would she know that?

The screaming?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Someone who is not trapped or secured to a moving object like a car using their own decision to attach themselves to a moving vehicle is an A-hole. This woman can be tried in court for stealing property but not for attempted murder.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Times must be hard when a 58 yr old lady resorts to stealing. That's ghetto. For a melon and other groceries? Doesn't japan have a food stamp system? Maybe that could be Abe's 5th arrow. Pathetic!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Well, if she could afford a car I'm sure she could have afforded to pay for her melons.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Times must be hard when a 58 yr old lady resorts to stealing. That's ghetto. For a melon and other groceries? Doesn't japan have a food stamp system? Maybe that could be Abe's 5th arrow. Pathetic!

Actually there have been numerous reports the last few years saying that this age group are the worst offenders for shoplifting! I guess some are due to poverty but the report I remember reading also put it down to cries for attention and passive-aggressive behaviors. Wish I could remember all the details now but it was interesting and pretty believable actually, when you look at the dark cloud of energy surrounding a lot of these angry old baasan going about their daily business looking murderous.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Security guards should have a video camera attached to their little bats that they carry. Getting a picture of the woman's face and license plate could help the police find her later. Not worth risking your life over some food.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is it legal to hang on the door of a moving car in Japan?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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