Hungry for justice (and jail bento), Kobe thief turns himself in

Hungry for justice (and jail bento), Kobe thief turns himself in A standard "kamben"

KOBE —

Hyogo Prefecture has a bit of a reputation for culinary excellence. Besides being the home of Kobe beef, it’s also famous for French and Chinese cuisine, along with boasting some of Japan’s best octopus. But could Hyogo’s food be so good that alleged criminals would give up their freedom for it?

On May 12, police at the Nagata Ward Precinct in Kobe took a suspected thief into custody. The unemployed 32-year-old man, whose name has been withheld, turned himself in, saying, “I want to eat the tasty food Nagata Precinct serves prisoners in its holding cells.”

The individual confessed to authorities on May 11 at 11:40 a.m., perhaps hoping to be processed in time for lunch. His arrest was not made official until the next day, however. He is being held on suspicion of stealing a wallet containing 8,000 yen from the storage compartment of a motor scooter parked in Kobe’s Satoyama-cho neighborhood, also located in Nagata Ward, sometime between 3 p.m. on April 8 and 10 a.m. the following morning.

The boxed meals served at police stations are called “kamben,” a contraction of the Japanese words for police officer and bento, or boxed meal. Instead of being prepared in-house, police stations order them from local bento shops, which deliver them to the station. Their ingredients are typically the same as in any other bento in Japan, including rice with side dishes such as grilled salmon, dumplings, eggs, stir-fried vegetables, and pickles. In general they have a reputation for being bland and unappetizing, but as they are locally-sourced, their flavor and overall quality varies from station to station.

This isn’t the first time this has happened in Hyogo Prefecture. In 2009, police were called to an Internet café in the city of Akashi, where a man was refusing to pay for the drinks he had ordered. The unemployed man had also been taken into custody the year before in Akashi, and wanted to be arrested so he could eat the precinct’s delicious “kamben” once again.

Unfortunately, it had been an especially busy day for Akashi’s finest, and their holding cells were already filled to capacity, so the man was taken to the Awaji City station instead. With no reports of the man purposely getting arrested again, it’s safe to conclude that their kamben supplier isn’t quite as good as Akashi’s.

Sources: Naver, Kobe Newspaper Next

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  • -10

    jumpultimatestars

    humans as a race are a lost cause. Throwing away your life to actually achieve and experience things just to have free food.

  • 5

    TorafusuTorasan

    The thief "hoping to be processed in time for lunch" was a great line in this story.

    @jump Didn't realize the two guys mentioned in this story are indicative of all of humanity. Is everyone you know clamoring for a chance to try the exclusive cuisine known as kamben?

  • 3

    Frungy

    I can't help but feel that the writer of this article has taken a single sentence about the food being delicious and leapt to a series of increasingly ridiculous conclusions.

    When did this thief eat last? How long has he been unemployed? These facts are missing, but they're critical. If I had been unemployed for months, and hadn't eaten in days then desperate measures like stealing something to get food might seem like a good deal.

  • 2

    FightingViking

    Reminds me of the time, when I was a student, I didn't have anything to eat for a whole week... A small cup of coffee in the morning - with sugar for strength, that's it ! But I knew I would be getting my first salary from my new part-time job at the end of the week so I wasn't "forced" to steal anything ! (After getting my "Student restaurant" tickets, it took me two years to "catch up" !)

  • 1

    pizzatime

    At a bookstore,bookoff I think, I saw a book about japanese prison meals with pictures... that is one interesting book to have.

  • 2

    kurisupisu

    Nagana and Akashi both areas of high unemployment!

    I guess Abenomics isnt working in Kansai?

  • 1

    kurisupisu

    Nagata (I meant)

  • 3

    Yubaru

    It is a sad statement about society here when people have to commit a crime to get something to eat.

  • 0

    DudeDeuce

    I have eaten dinner with homeless people countless times, lunch at different universities because they were cheap.I am not sure if I'd ever eat with prisoners.

  • -2

    Mirai Hayashi

    Serve them cold mush instead...maybe that'll be enough motivation to stay out of jail and get an honest life

  • 0

    Richard bHard

    well at least the guy did not kill anyone!Cant blame a man for being hungry.

  • 1

    Maria

    I dislike the focus and tone of this article.

    It's not important what is on the menu, and it's not in the least bit funny that a young man prefers to be in prison than outside, because he's so hungry. Too many people are 2 or 3 paychecks away from homelessness, and once you're homeless and alone, you're lost.

    The answer is not to "serve them cold mush" - what a heartless comment! - the answer is to help and support people who have often been failed by society, and get them back on their feet.

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