Japanese police hide at shrine to catch a thief…who stole ¥665

By Oona McGee, SoraNews24

In Japan, busy cities and quiet residential neighborhoods are dotted with small local shrines that never close their gates, and while people usually limit their shrine visits to the daytime hours, there are some individuals who walk through the grounds well after dark, and not always for innocent reasons.

That’s what occurred in Iruma City, Saitama Prefecture last month, when a man was seen entering the grounds of a local shrine at around 10:30 p.m. on Oct 16. He headed over to a collection box containing coins, tipped the contents out onto his palm, and strode off like a rich man.

However, he wasn’t rich, and he didn’t get very far, because he was immediately pounced upon by four police officers, who’d been waiting for him in the dark, blending into the scenery as if they were about to bust up a gold heist.

▼ Watch the moment the man is apprehended below.

he clip plays out like a scene from a movie — or rather, a comedy — as one officer is so keen to catch the culprit he slips on the ground and falls over in front of the thief, who simply stands there looking stunned.

As the officers shout “Keisatsu! Keisatsu!” (“Police! Police!“), another figure runs in from out of frame, dressed in camo gear and a full-on Ghillie suit covered in fake leaves, suggesting he’d been standing motionless among the trees.

According to reports, the officers involved in the sting operation had to hide for more than four hours, as it was necessary for them to witness the crime in order to make an arrest. With one of the four officers concealed in camo gear like an army sniper, the other three, in plain-clothes, had no choice but to huddle together under a large covering until the criminal appeared.

It was a lot of effort to catch the thief red-handed, and viewers delighted in seeing the action unfold as it did.

“The officer falling down made me lol!”

“No wonder he fell if he started running at full speed after sitting there for four hours.”

“They must’ve been so excited to hideout like this!”

“I can’t believe they had an officer in a Ghillie suit! That’s too much!”

“Even the thief looks puzzled by the Ghillie suit lol”

“I bet they had a good laugh over that suit at the station!”

The officers certainly came prepared for the stakeout, fulfilling their duty to uphold the law and protect the country’s law-abiding citizens, and shrines, from thieves. So how much was saved, thanks to this elaborate police operation?

665 yen.

After being apprehended, the unemployed 30-year-old thief was re-arrested by Saitama police on Nov 9 on suspicion of other incidents of theft. Given the police were waiting for him at the shrine, it’s likely the thief had previously raided the collection box, or other similar offertory boxes in the area.

Speaking to reporters, the Shinto priest at the shrine said nobody expects people to steal from an offertory box. Sadly, though, it does happen — back in 2018 a man was arrested for taking 30 yen from one such box at a shrine in Chiba Prefecture.

The priest expressed his extreme admiration for the efforts of the police officers over the theft of a few hundred yen. It just goes to show it doesn’t matter how much you steal, stealing is stealing in the eyes of the law, and the police will go to all sorts of lengths to find you, even if you’re a senior stealing one solitary grape from a fruit store.

Source: FNN Prime Online via Jin

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Japanese man gets arrested for stealing 30 yen from Shinto shrine’s collection box

-- 64-year-old man arrested for stealing a roll of toilet paper from hospital toilet

-- Japanese man rides 1,000 kilometres on stolen mamachari bicycle to see Tokyo for first time

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Foolish way to spend the taxes we pay.

20 ( +24 / -4 )

Yes the committed a felony and for this he must be stopped and sanctioned with a fine.

But seeing this video it seems they were looking for a serial killer,to don’t mention how it comically ended.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

All those clumsy cops for this guy? And a ghillie suit? Are you serious?

19 ( +21 / -2 )

At least this person won't be forced to make false confession.

Japanese police hide at shrine to catch a thief…who stole ¥665

It just goes to show it doesn’t matter how much you steal, stealing is stealing in the eyes of the law, and the police will go to all sorts of lengths to find you, even if you’re a senior stealing one solitary grape from a fruit store.

It will cost taxpayer more than ¥665 for the whole thing after this guy is being arrested.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

Farcical waste of resources. Why not just place a camera there?

14 ( +17 / -3 )

16 police hours for ¥665. It’s like stealing 16 police hour salaries from tax payers. Where are security cameras? Surely the shrine can afford that. The police in this otherwise peaceful country are a waste of money. They should introduce volunteer security people a la Guardian Angels. Cheaper. Just as effective. I lose respect for this unnecessary waste. Shame on Kyoto and wherever this kind of waste is seen.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

Cops here can’t stop people from not wearing seat belts, little kids standing up between the front seats in moving cars, cars not stopping at pedestrian crossings, vehicles not signaling a turn but they got time for this??

19 ( +20 / -1 )

They were also hiding out for days, not just that night.

Couldn't they just put a camera up and catch the guy that way.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Stealing money from a shrine is a very serious offense in Japan. I remember a few years ago there was a homeless guy sentenced to a year in prison for stealing ¥10, yes ¥10 from a shrine. Be an unscrupulous businessman or a corrupt politician or a celebrity using drugs and you’ll get a slap on the wrist. Steal a few yen from a shrine and go directly to jail!

16 ( +17 / -1 )

Meanwhile, someone who actually need real help from the police was left waiting.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

Striking me here again is the total lack of empathy, sympathy or care by a priest for a fellow human being in need. Are they not supposed to care for those in need or is that just my oldfashioned romanticised idea of what religious servants should be.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

God, Japanese law enforcement is a joke.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Totally crazy, considering the costs. Policemen salary for those hours, their transportation, investigation and prison for the suspect, jurisdiction at court, lawyers, afterwards prison costs or further surveillance of the suspect. That soon makes a million for those 665yen. In a business situation you would be fired in advance with such an expensive and stupid project in mind. lol

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Well, this is what happen when police are bored out of their mind daily and finding a criminal in action is that exciting for them.

Btw, i don't care if it was just 665yen. You don't steal from a shrine. That is just wrong on so many level.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I am not critical of this. And the point is. Its being shown at every railroad station on every screen Nationally!

Its on every news network in the country. Every newspaper. You need look beyond the bust and the cost of manhours or what ever tactics were used. A deep understanding Japanese culture is helpful too.

Stealing offerings that belong to the Shinto God will not be tolerated. If someone ran in your church and stole the offering plate and ran away and their was chance to set a lesson that it will not be tolerated. Would you support police action then in your own place of worship? I know I would.

Good on the police to arrest this thief. That money goes to keeping the place clean and paying for priests salaries and for burial rights of Japanese that pass that do not have money or any family to send them off to eternal rest. And it goes to charity too.

Great job JPD!

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

Have a steel box bolted to a concrete pad if theft is such a problem, or help an unemployed, homless person, mmmm seems 5 days using 4 camouflaged police officers is a better option? Utter stupidity. What some people see as sacred, others see as Hippocrates. Perfect example.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Have a steel box bolted to a concrete pad if theft is such a problem, or help an unemployed, homless

Those shrine made really made lot of money.

Should they should contribute back or making preventive action by trying to help people who become less fortunate. So far who really do that only some Buddhist temple, that help foreign trainee that lost their job during pandemic

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am waiting for our usual correspondents to chime in an claim that this proves that Japan is not safe anymore. Of course, it shows precisely the opposite. Imagine a country where the police is idle enough to set this up

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Had 5 police investigate my home robbery on 4 different times. I know the person and where they live. Told them. Almost 1 year and still they are not arrested.

that guy must of had pretty bad luck.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Did he confess yet? Without that prosecutors are lost.

¥665 oh no the world is turning upside down, Abenomics trickle down, yes it's working as this proves.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Robert Maes.

I believe Shrines and temples here are tax free, money makers. I have known a free monks from temples,

and they are just regular people outside of business hours. Go drinking, drive nicer cars than the average Joe.

They have no spiritualism left in almost any of them.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

It's actually sad...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Dud to the low level of investigative intelligence, waste of time, amount of people it took, the silly tactics, even the slip and fall at the end...yeah a little embarrassing to me

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I am waiting for our usual correspondents to chime in an claim that this proves that Japan is not safe anymore. 

I don’t think they’re coming. Check again tomorrow.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I believe I saw something about this a few days ago on NHK after work.

The manpower thrown into this little operation was nothing short of embarrassing; they swarmed on the guy! I asked my wife how much the guy had made, she didn't have a number for me. Can't believe it was

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It's a sad story.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I am shocked to find out that 665 Japanese Yen equals $6.35 United States Dollar. What a huge waste of resorces. Why not have no more than 2 guys watch for him?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I just remembered he was stealing before. I guess his total was higher. Maybe still under 1000 yen, And now maybe he will get the famous Japanese interogation that could last for days until he confesses.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Welcome to Japan, you’re tax dollars (yen) at work! I wouldn’t surprised if it’s a crime here to find 100 yen on the street and pocket it instead of turning it into the koban

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japanese cops lack excitement in their lives lol...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

was re-arrested by Saitama police on Nov 9 on suspicion of other incidents of theft

Why is there always this assumption? Just because one person is caught doing the crime, they blame all the other crimes on him without proof? Lazy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

do people who steal from shrines get harsher punishment?

Eternal damnation from a Higher Authority?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

stole ¥665

The real crime here is the guy either dropped one yen or miscounted. Make it a proper ¥666, fool!

And, really police? How many guys did it take to get him? 4?

Don't you guys have more important issues, you don't.

sigh...... carry on.

It's a wonder, had this been all a decoy to mask the real crime being committed across the street at the bank, right?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ok.......I just watched the video.

Wow, really? This was real life? Not a part of some dumb variety show?

They really set up camp and literally hid under some sheets for, who knows how many hours. To catch ONE thief? And we pay these people's salary?

Completely absurd.......

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How many J-police officers does it take to screw a light bulb, the whole world wonders?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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