With guns being extremely hard to come by in Japan, armed robbers here usually resort to large kitchen knives for intimidating store staff into handing over money. But for some reason, some of them apparently can’t even get their hands on one of those and have to get really creative with “weapons” such as nose hair clippers.
Tomoharu Nakamura of Sapporo, Hokkaido, however, may have taken the cake for most absurd robbery weapon. The 41 year-old was arrested on multiple charges in addition to attempted robbery with a lighter.
The incident occurred at about 3:30 p.m. on Aug 21 at a convenience store in Kiyota Ward. Nakamura allegedly entered the store, clicked on his lighter, and pointed it at the manager, saying: “Out with the money or I’ll light you up!”
Since the manager was not a scarecrow, he took the calculated risk of not giving in to Nakamura’s demands and instead ran into the back room and called police. Also, since it was the middle of the afternoon there were several customers inside the store at the time, but they too quickly fled the scene despite the risk of getting mildly singed in the process.
Police quickly arrived on the scene, causing Nakamura to turn his lighter on them instead. Luckily, the officers too had faith in their own non-flammability and overcame the assailant to make the arrest. In custody, Nakamura reportedly admitted to trying to rob the store, but he was also charged with assaulting a police officer, obstructing police business, and possibly damage to property as the store’s walls got banged up during the entire incident.
And so ended an incredibly poorly thought-out robbery attempt. Online comments abounded with all the potential ways to foil the threat of a lighter, while the others were just trying to figure out what he was trying to accomplish.
“The manager just had to go ‘Ffffooo!’ and it would be all over.”
“I would have said thanks and pulled out a cigarette.”
“How did he not burn his finger that whole time?”
“The manager was probably frying food and had oil on him, so it could have been dangerous.”
“Maybe he was trying to hypnotize the clerk.”
“He couldn’t even get an attempted arson charge.”
“He just wanted to go to prison.”
It’s said that usually around this time in Hokkaido, people out on the street will try to get prison sentences just to ride out the winter months. That would explain Nakamura’s peculiar choice of weapon, but in assaulting the police he wasn’t just literally playing with fire, and could end up with a much longer bid than he intended if that was indeed his goal.
Without knowing his backstory, we can’t be sure though. It’s just as possible that he was a seasoned robber who got bored of the routine and decided to challenge himself.
Source: FNN, Hachima Kiko
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