crime

Woman arrested for pocketing change given to her by mistake

81 Comments
By Krista Rogers, RocketNews24

Police in Miyagi Prefecture on May 21 arrested a woman on swindling charges after the cashier at a local store erroneously handed her an extra 45,000 yen in change. The woman is denying the charges, claiming that she simply “didn’t notice” the large amount of cash she received in the transaction.

The incident occurred on March 25 at a convenience store in Ishinomaki City while a 47-year-old company employee was making a large payment related to her mobile phone. Local police state that the bill came to approximately 102,000 yen, which the woman paid for using 105,000 yen in cash.

The cashier subsequently made an error while inputting that amount into the machine, and in place of receiving the correct 3,000 yen in change, the woman was handed 48,000 yen instead. She then left the store without saying anything.

The woman is currently denying the charges, saying that she merely “didn’t notice” the extra cash.

Source: Sanspo

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81 Comments
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So the clerk punched in 150,000 instead of 105,000 for the bill total. I would also have kept schtum.

On a side note, who the hell spends 102,000yen on a payment related to her mobile phone?

14 ( +16 / -2 )

You would've kept money that doesn't belong to you?

The 10000 yen bills are bigger than the 1000 yen bills so i doubt she didn't realize any of it. Perhaps the 102000 was a yearly payment perhaps. 8500 a month would be possible.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

who the hell spends 102,000yen on a payment related to her mobile phone? cell phone zombies, who look at their phone 24/7

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

Although I can understand the "woohoo! free money!" feeling, the customer should have realized that she had just paid for a bill in her own name, and thus would be very easy to track down.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Didn't notice my left eye. There's a huge difference between 3,000 and 48,000 yen change. Plus they have all your information because you paid your cellphone bill. Hello.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

thief

-12 ( +5 / -16 )

I don't know, it's not impossible. Once I was really tired and payed for a piece of bread with a 1000¥ and he cashier (probably also tired) gave me change from 10000¥. I took it, absent mindedly put it into my bag and walked out. It took me good 10 minutes to realize that something was wrong and take it back to the bakery (eating that bread really helped to speed the thinking process and normalize blood sugar, silly right?). How about those times when you pay and then forget to take the goods?

18 ( +17 / -0 )

BS, this person knew exactly what was going on--cashiers in Japan diligently count out your change in front of you. Good on the cops for arresting this dishonest individual.

One of the many positives thing in Japan is the fact that you don't have to be hyper-vigilant about counting change--people in Japan will not try and swindle you in this manner like so many other places in the world. But this is a two-way street: you have to be honest in return and draw attention to mistakes made in your favor.

1 ( +11 / -9 )

She might be very dishonest and she also has a legal obligation to return the money but I fail to see where the crime is here. The shop clerk voluntarily handed her the money with the intention that she take what he was giving. The important point is not whether she noticed the mistake or not, but whether she did anything to deceive or defraud the shop into giving her the money. Clearly, she did not. It was entirely their mistake.

If a stranger hands you money for no reason, you commit no crime by simply taking it. However, if it turns out that they mistook you for someone else or gave you more than they intended, they can try to recover it by suing you for unjust enrichment. It's not a criminal/police matter.

I know of a similar case in Japan where an online shop accidently added an extra zero while processing a customer refund via bank transfer.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Pocket the wrong change at conbini..Claim ignorance, get arrested. Pocket millions as a corrupt politician or a CEO...Claim ignorance, perform one moushiwake gozaimasen bow...it's all good and forgiven.

20 ( +22 / -4 )

Cashier"s stupidity, and she gets arrested?

18 ( +20 / -3 )

The vault lies with the cashier, no matter the woman did take the money and left, knowingly or not. Show me the law that determines that a customer is obliged to count change!

18 ( +19 / -1 )

The very simple solution would have been for the clerk to adjust her payment slip to show that she had only paid 57,000 rather than 102,000.... But of course, the shop's computer system probably doesn't allow for this,... who's fault is that?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Bank error in your favour - collect 48,000yen!!

... but more seriously, I've had this sort of thing happen to me more times than I can count. I think I owe X, so I hand that over and I get given back more than I anticipated. 99% of the time when I query the apparent error I'm told "service" (as in a discount) - admittedly a 50% discount is a lot more than I've ever received, but getting back the "wrong" change is so common in Japan that I think that treating it as a theft is a bit extreme.

Wouldn't it have been more polite to simply go to the woman's house, explain the error and ask for the incorrect change to be returned? If she refused then the police could be contacted.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

It is very easy to run up ¥100,000+ on a mobile phone without looking at it 24/7 or being glued to FB. Global roaming charges for business email and web connections for a couple of weeks can easily exceed this amount, especially if your preferred or contracted carrier is not available, as may occur in some regions. It does not mean that the payee is a cellphone zombie...

7 ( +6 / -0 )

She might be very dishonest and she also has a legal obligation to return the money but I fail to see where the crime is here.

Theft. Plain and simple.

Theft and honest mistake are separated by intent. At the point this woman realised the cashier had given her too much money and then decided to keep the change, she committed theft. Obviously, the woman could argue that she didn't notice, but given the sums involved, I'd say she'd have a hard time getting the beak to buy that line.

Finders keepers only works in the school yard.

-12 ( +4 / -16 )

In Japan, cashiers always count out the notes... surely that would have been a big indication?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There's no way she didn't notice. She knew her bill, and she knew what she handed the employee. And combini employees are notorious for counting out the change, so after that first 3,000 yen change she knew. Prolly was planning to use it on her next bill.

On a similar but lighter note...during a trip to Korea I once visited a shop that exchanged currencies. As I walked out I realized I had too much so I went back in, explained, and the guys wife slapped him in the back of the head just like Gibbs.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

It is the responsibility of the cashier to be accountable for the money that is returned to customers. I never pay attention to the money I get back because this type of exchange is a daily occurrence...

5 ( +7 / -2 )

She may or may not have noticed. 40,000 yen may not be much money to her - with a 100,000 yen phone bill, it's possible she's very wealthy, and had enough money in her wallet that an extra 40,000 was not noticeable at the time. And she may have been distracted when the cashier was counting money - I know I have been more than once in the past.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

A.N. Other: At the point this woman realised the cashier had given her too much money and then decided to keep the change, she committed theft.

The article actually says she is being charged with 'swindling' (I assume they mean fraud), not theft. There can never be a theft where someone voluntarily hands over their property (even if by mistake). If you trick someone into handing over property, then there might be a fraud... but again, there was no deception or trick here. Not all dishonesty rises to the level of a crime.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I think she probably noticed, but I also think that while if she DID notice keeping the change was dishonest, it's not ultimately her fault she was handed the money, and I can't see why an arrest is warranted. Track her down and ask for it back, then if refused get a court order, and if worse comes to worst THEN arrest her. Even then, though, is it her fault? Ultimately if she keeps refusing and denying, as horrible as it is it should be the clerk who has to pay up, or the store just take the hit.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I think the cashier must prove that she really handed that amount of money to the customer. All the stores in Japan have a policy according to which they are not responsible for any incident of a customer being shortchanged unless the claim is made on the spot. The opposite should apply to this case. You know how often we get shortchanged.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

A basic definition of theft:

Theft Act 1968 describes it as a "basic definition" of theft. Sections 1(1) and (2) provide: 1.-(1) A person is guilty of theft, if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it; and "thief" and "steal" shall be construed accordingly.

Wash she dishonest? Yes. Did she appropriate the money? Yes. Did she intend to keep the money? Yes.

Go straight to jail.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

I could not understand why an arrest?, though the customer accepts that "she did not notice". Going to shop is daily occurance, most of the time I would also not verify the change given by the cashier, since I trust the cashier, But receiving a Big Change is a matter of concern.I feel that she could be forgiven. Anyway the cashier should apologize after all.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

She probably didn't notice because she was glued to her phone.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

There are only two crimes here. The number one crime here is the size of that telephone bill!

Naturally, no one at the phone company will get arrested.

And as usual, the Japanese are way overzealous with the common people. To say she swindled the convenience store? Oh really? How did she arrange that swindle? They saying she used a Jedi mind trick to get the clerk to make the error?

I think some Japanese police should be going to jail for abuse of authority, cause that is crime number two.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

She didn't "appropriate," though, she was given it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@smithinjapan

"t's not ultimately her fault she was handed the money, and I can't see why an arrest is warranted" RIGHT!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Some food for thought: At what time did this occur? If it was late at night it would easily explain the error and it would also explain how the woman might not have noticed.

Plus, we are talking large amounts of cash here. When you hand over a large amount, and a large amount comes back, you may not notice even at mid day.

And, had she been drinking?

And is anyone going to sit there and tell me they never made a money error? Or that you never blanked out as a Japanese cashier was counting your change?

I think its mighty foolish of people to sit there and declare there is no way she could have not noticed. In fact, that quick as lightning presumptuous only counts to me as proof how easy it is for people to make big mistakes and never realize.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Section 3 provides: (1) Any assumption by a person of the rights of an owner amounts to an appropriation, and this includes, where he has come by the property (innocently or not) without stealing it, any later assumption of a right to it by keeping or dealing with it as owner.

My italics.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@ANOther: lets make some crazy assumptions for a second. Assume she ha ded the clerk the money and was busy fiddling with her phone, not paying attention. Assume the clerk counts the bills, but she doesn't pay attention. Now assume she grabs the money and stahses it in her bag or whatever with other loose money. Hell, lets also assume she is rich and carrying more cash for other bills and errands she has planned.

As rediculous as this sounds, it is a possible, albiet unlikely, scenario... So can we say she was dishonest without a doubt?

Let her return the money and if she's truly innocent...then great. If she is truly guilty, then hopefully lesson learned.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I think some Japanese police should be going to jail for abuse of authority, cause that is crime number two.

Correct. @Living Memory, j-cops are always arresting people for minor incidents. If the woman (saying she didn't notice) voluntarily returned the cash upon being contacted by the authorities, then what's the big deal?

There is spirit of the law and letter of the law. . . . Too bad these brainless cops only practice the latter. A little initiative, good judgement and tact go a long way.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Why didn't the clerk or the convenience store just ask for the money back? If she honestly didn't notice, then she would have returned the money. If she refused to return the money, then call in the cops.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

She may be currently claiming she didn't notice, but after a few more days in the tank with no sleep I am sure she will confess. The J cops rarely fail to get a confession and they don't seem to concern themselves much with if its a false confession or not.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Oscar Wilde wrote "The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.” well this lady is probably regretting the consequences...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I could easily see her not noticing. If she had a 102,000 yen phone bill, she probably has the phone surgically implanted into her ear and was talking to someone while receiving the change. I guess the key would be what the security camera shows she was doing at the time she received the incorrect change.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Let her return the money and if she's truly innocent...then great. If she is truly guilty, then hopefully lesson learned.

Yep! Arrest a person for the cashier's mistake? And it takes 2 months to do so? Tell her to return the money within 24 hours or face arrest.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's against the lawson.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Sounds like entrapment to me. How many other customers have been given the wrong change by this wizard and then arrested? Eh?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

tonttu2012: ... I think the cashier must prove that she really handed that amount of money to the customer. All the stores in Japan have a policy according to which they are not responsible for any incident of a customer being shortchanged unless the claim is made on the spot. The opposite should apply to this case. You know how often we get shortchanged.

Yes! She should lawyer up!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

A bit hard to blame her for not thinking when it was the cashier who wasn't thinking before her.

And why did it take almost 2 months to arrest her?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

In a truly democratic country can you get arrested for this? Called in for questioning maybe but arrested... I think not, guess they are/will bully her into a signed confession.

Cashier or the store should be responsible for the loss in the register, full stop.
1 ( +3 / -2 )

How in the world can she be arrested for this? Maybe she realized the mistake and pocketed the money, but maybe she did not. Since when is the customer required to re-count the change in case the cashier makes a mistake? And what happened to the principle of innocent until proven guilty?

This looks like another case of misjustice to me.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@A.N. Other

The Theft Act 1968 is the law in England so you can't really apply it here in Japan. You're probably right about this being a theft in England but only because the law was intentionally designed to catch cases to this. I think Japanese theft is closer to common law larceny in parts of Australia, US and pre-1968 England. There must be some trespassory taking. Having someone voluntarily hand you the money means it can't be theft.

Have a look at this case for the pre-1968 law in England:

http://swarb.co.uk/moynes-v-cooper-1956/

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I suppose everyone should count the change received, but a lot of people don't. Making spaciness a crime seems a little ridiculous. I believe her when she says she didn't notice. Meanwhile, doesn't the cashier have some resposibility since making change is part of the job?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The law in most states, the failing to report a cashier error is in your favor. I would say no, because the key word is "wrongfully." If the cashier rang up incorrectly, you did not wrongfully cause the change amount to be paid more. There are differences between individual ethics and law.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I recall reading a long time ago in a guidebook that it's rude in Japan to count your change in front of the person giving it to you. Indeed, I find myself routinely not checking my change in Japan.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I was a customer at an eatery in Asakusa last year and ordered curry rice and a beer. The curry was quite spicy, so I asked for another beer to the cook who didn't first serve me. I made the mental calculation of the total and when I was presented the bill, I knew it was wrong. They hadn't added the extra beer. I had this puzzled look on my face and they noticed it. Unfortunately, the first thing they thought was that I was overcharged and pointed to the sign that mentioned the recent change in tax. When I itemized to them my "purchases", it was then they noticed they had undercharged me and their demeanor changed to one of gratitude for being honest. They apologized but I told them it wasn't necessary. Mistakes happen. How you deal with them is what determines your character.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@M3M3M3

Interesting case. I'd like to know what constitutes fraud in this instance (fraud usually involving some kind of deception).

In England at least, overpayment of change would potentially fall under the 1968 Theft Act, without doubt.

I can't see the Old Bill letting her just walk away if they suspect she is being dishonest. They'll probably charge her with obstruction of business in the end.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I recall reading a long time ago in a guidebook that it's rude in Japan to count your change in front of the person giving it to you. Indeed, I find myself routinely not checking my change in Japan.

It's not rude at all, and at most places they'll say the amount they are giving you, and ask you to confirm for yourself.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So... if I stand there and scrutinise my change, The staff think I don't trust them and I'm the one who gets embarrassed and look like some kinda scrooge.

If I just pocket it (which I usually do) then I am branded a thief???

Hardly seems fair does it? That said, I think anyone would have noticed this mistake :) Why not hand it back and receive a huge thank you from the staff and their eternal gratitude.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

if I stand there and scrutinise my change, The staff think I don't trust them and I'm the one who gets embarrassed and look like some kinda scrooge.

You're over thinking it. They aren't going to think you don't trust them, and even if they did, that's their problem.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@A.N. Other

Fraud usually involving some kind of deception.

Yes, and I just don't see any sort of active deception here... but since this is Japan where many things are in a gray area and unpredictable, who knows. I checked this story on a few japanese legal websites and some seemed to be saying that this wasn't fraud but others were saying that it was. However most just said 'it depends on the circumstances' and that 'we should all take extra care when receiving our change'...not very helpful is it?

They'll probably charge her with obstruction of business in the end.

lol.. I'm sure that was the first thing the police considered. I guess she is being advised by a decent lawyer since it's rare for people to protest their innocence like this (unless they have been convinced that the law is on their side).

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If it were a cop that handed over the money we would call it entrapment. Temptation is bad enough without having someone literally shove it in your hands.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Change return mistakes do happen, but I truly doubt she didn't noticed receiving back at least 8 (4X10000+1X5000+3X1000) bills instead of the three she was supposed to get. That's going to make a pretty big bulge in any normal sized wallet...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

She should run for office, that way when it happens again she doesn't have to worry about the police

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Didnt notice when it happened, I can believe. Sometime on the weeks after she didn't figure it out ... BS.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This is one occasion where the "I was drunk" excuse could have been appropriate. "I was drunk, I wasn't paying attention. I just took whatever change I was given and put it in my purse". In my opinion, if a shopkeeper makes a mistake like this it's tough luck on his part. The customer should be under no obligation to point it out.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I thought everyone here was ''honest.'' This happens anywhere else and the J-heads would have said it would have never happened here.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

thief

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

JeffLee: I recall reading a long time ago in a guidebook that it's rude in Japan to count your change in front of the person giving it to you. Indeed, I find myself routinely not checking my change in Japan.

First two hits on Google for 'japanese etiquette counting change' match what you say.

Although maybe "Japanese etiquette" is not homogenous. Like Kanto vs. Kansai escalator etiquette.

http://www.thejapanfaq.com/FAQ-Manners.html

It's considered rude to count your change after paying the bill in a store or restaurant, but the Japanese themselves do give it a cursory lookover.

http://www.artisandevelopers.com/web/tokyo/etiquette.htm

Ten. The Japanese sometimes hand back change in one lump sum. Counting your change infers that you do not trust the merchant. The Japanese are very conscientious, hardworking and trustworthy.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@strangerland

Certainly where I come from they would.

Not only that but they check all bills handed to them for counterfeits.

If I were to do that with the bills they handed me, well....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is one of those things that foreigners write about Japan that just simply isn't true now, if it ever was.

As I said, at most stores they will tell you to check your change. お確かめください.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It wasn't long ago we had folk complaining on a thread here about shop assistants painstakingly counting out the change and presenting it so that all the notes are visible. Even assuming the shop assistant was having a senior moment, was distracted by the long line of customers waiting to be served, or had simply been on the till too long and was in need of a tea break, there is no way a customer expecting ¥3000 in change would 'not notice' it was ¥48,000 - assuming her family considered her fit to her out alone and in charge of a purse in the first place.

If we were talking coins - mistaking a ¥100 for a ¥50, or a ¥10 for a ¥5 - mistakes do happen. But ¥3,000/¥48,000? No way.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I wonder why so many people claim that they are sure she must have noticed.

By that logic, the cashier must have noticed, too. Yet he hasn't, so there's a good chance she didn't, either. How often do you phase out while waiting for something to happen. It happens. It is known to happen.

Maybe she did notice. Maybe she didn't.

Claiming there is not way she wouldn't have noticed is just not very realistic.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

One of the many positives thing in Japan is the fact that you don't have to be hyper-vigilant about counting change--people in Japan will not try and swindle you in this manner like so many other places in the world. But this is a two-way street: you have to be honest in return and draw attention to mistakes made in your favor.

I've had them miscalculate a bunch of times and bump up my bill just as I'm getting ready to pay as well

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Sounds like both are a pair of IDIOTS!!! I would take that $$$ from that stupid worker at the cash register!!! Then fire their asses!!!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

How is that a crime?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Maybe the customer knew, maybe she didn't. The mistake wasn't hers (she's already stated that she didn't notice) but the cashier's, so the police should let her go and should have never arrested her in the first place.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So if I am shortchanged in Japan the clerk shortchanging me can be arrested? Pointing out that there was a mistake would be inappropriate because a crime (of theft from me) had been committed.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I go to my local convenience store on a daily basis. And these days, I seldom make sure of my change if the change doesn't include 1,000 yen notes or large notes like 10,000 yen.

This is only my own guess, but I doubt that she didn't notice the "large amount of cash" she got. And my guess is that she rather laughed up her sleeve at the "unexpected extra cash."

From now on, I think I'd better make sure of each change to steer clear of any trouble.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What I deduct from the responses here is: If you get shortchanged, you don't notice it and don't make a fuss. If you get a bonus change, you don't notice it either, nor do you make a fuss. Life is too busy to deal with these trivialities. Keep your smart phone in place to your ear and keep on trucking :-)

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Come on you guys. This lady is probably wealthy, keep in mind how much her phone bill was and how she paid it. Most rich people I know who have money and when I say have money they don't care to count what they call change they just get what they want put the difference in their pockets and walk away. Perhaps in this women's case she did the same. I can see this happening!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

By that logic, the cashier must have noticed, too. Yet he hasn't, so there's a good chance she didn't, either.

She believed the cash register, into which the wrong amount was entered.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

that's supposed to be a discount for her BIG bill.......doc!!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

onagagamo: ... On a side note, who the hell spends 102,000yen on a payment related to her mobile phone?

The link section at the bottom of the article above may provide a clue.

Don't some mobile games in Japan bill you for play time or purchases of magical items?

Read more stories from RocketNews24

—Police officer racks up $5,000 in social gaming debt, attempts extortion

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lady not only took a substantial quantity of money that wasn't hers, but failed to give it back afterward; difficult to believe she didn't notice the difference at any point between then and when they came knocking on her door. That said, the clerk made a mistake in handing it to her and she made a "mistake" in not handing it back. The best solution would be, in my opinion, for her to simply hand over the cash now and for it to be over and done with. Charges seem excessive.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@misunderstoodMAY. 27, 2015 - 10:19PM JST Come on you guys. This lady is probably wealthy, keep in mind how much her phone bill was and how she paid it. Most rich people I know who have money and when I say have money they don't care to count what they call change they just get what they want put the difference in their pockets and walk away. Perhaps in this women's case she did the $$same. I can see this happening

''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Not just rich people but many people just place paper money in large folder w/o c ointing. But I think she is rich.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How can they prove intent?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@irishosaruMAY. 31, 2015 - 07:43PM JST How can they prove intent?

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

I am wondering, too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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