Man arrested after rice cooker found plugged into neighbor’s home

TOKYO —

In Kawazoe, Saga Prefecture, a 48-year-old homeowner received a shock when he found a rice cooker plugged into an exterior outlet on his house. He immediately called the police and reported the meal which was being prepared in his yard without his consent. Knowing that time was of the essence, police rushed to scene.

As luck would have it, just as the police arrived, the man’s 63-year-old neighbor arrived back at the scene to check on his cooking rice. The police then arrested the man for theft, with only a few more minutes until the rice was finished.

Police later learned that the suspect’s electricity had been shut after he failed to pay his utility bills, and he had begun using other homes’ power outlets to do his cooking.

When news of this incident hit the Internet, many expressed sympathy for the suspect, saying that they too had used external electrical outlets for reasons such as charging mobile phones. Others were less lenient, saying the suspect’s reckless behavior endangered the neighbor’s life by placing a potential fire hazard outside the house.

However, one commenter summed it up best saying, “I really feel like some rice now.”

Source: Twitpic

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  • 4

    TheDevilsAssistant

    However, one commenter summed it up best saying, “I really feel like some rice now.”

    How is this summing it up the best?

    Also, did they at least let him finish cooking his rice?

  • 9

    ControlFreak

    Did he ask any neighbors for help? If he did, would they offer any?

    I don't know about this particular guy in question, but if my neighbors lost their power, I would happily run an extension cord to their house.

  • 11

    Farmboy

    Did they call in the rice squad?

  • -10

    some14some

    so the culprit has finally succeeded in getting free rice daily on taxpayers' account.

  • 5

    rowiko68

    'Knowing that time was of the essence, police rushed to the scene.'

    Not sure whether the writer is being sarcastic or not, but surely the police have more serious crimes to solve than someone stealing a neighbour's electricity?

  • 18

    SauloJpn

    Sure most people, me included, would be sympathetic to the guy who could not pay for his electricity but I would NOT be happy to find out that the neighbor had been doing that behind my back!

  • 11

    Mirai Hayashi

    He should have asked, but if I knew about the circumstances afterwards, I would definitely drop the charges. Let the guy go!

  • -4

    JeffLee

    I was in a cafe in Tokyo and plugged my laptop into a wall socket. When the waitress spotted it, she had a hissy fit. Maybe I was in danger of being arrested?

  • 2

    Mirai Hayashi

    @JeffLee

    You definitely could have been arrested if the shop manager decided to press charges. I remember a while back, a high school girl was arrested for plugging her cell into an outlet at a train station. The bill added up to less than a yen, but she was arrested for theft anyway.

  • 10

    TheDevilsAssistant

    Did they call in the rice squad?

    Yes, The "porice".

  • 1

    Gobshite

    @JeffLee

    Friend of mine was hassled by a security guard at Narita airport for charging his phone, even though there are areas available providing free wifi and power outlets to use your laptop

  • -3

    silvertongue

    I guess you resort to rice if you're not the breadwinner!

  • -2

    roughneck

    He could have just asked for permission to cook rice...it is not a big deal! I leave near a park that is used by schools and the neighbors often provide electric connection to the park users for free.

  • -1

    Mariam Tebourbi

    The police then arrested the man for theft, with only a few more minutes until the rice was finished.

    What a badass police! This is an example of what they are really doing instead of putting more efforts in more serious stuff. Anyway, if it were me I would wait and see who's using my electricity and then resolve it in peace instead of calling the police.

  • 1

    Get Real

    Poor neighbor. x 2

  • 0

    Christopher Blackwell

    It must be great to live in a country where the only serious crime is someone cooking rice using you outside electrical outlet. With such a low crime rate, why do they bother to even have a police department? [Grin]

  • 1

    marcelito

    Couldnt pay his electricity bill and cooked rice using his neighbour`s outlet? To the gallows with him - he should know better , if you wanna get off scotch free while conducting funny electricity business you better become a power company executive first ...then you can steal millions with impunity and / or be found not responsible for anything and walk away with a pot of gold. But stealing electricity to cook a bowl of rice? How dare he ...get him and lock him up before he steals more to boil a cup of tea to go with the rice.

  • 2

    rickyvee

    can you really "steal" someone's electricity? and wouldn't the usage have been about 20 yen or something? i think the police have better things to do.

  • -8

    Probie

    Although the old guy was stealing, the other guy shouldn't have called the police. He should have "relieved himself" in the rice or something and left it as it was. Or, thrown it through the old dudes window.

  • 0

    tinawatanabe

    He could have used his oven with an ordinaly pan to cook rice. Gas was also shut?

  • -2

    TokyoGas

    Is this felony theft or petty theft.

  • -2

    lucabrasi

    Others were less lenient, saying the suspect’s reckless behavior endangered the neighbor’s life by placing a potential fire hazard outside the house.

    For "less lenient", read "petty and stupid".

  • 0

    MeanRingo

    What an awkward future they will have. I suppose the two neighbours will now have to pretend the other doesn't exist. Wonder if that was happening already.

  • 1

    marcelito

    FightingViking - haha...thanks..damn predictive text software :-)

  • 0

    AramaTaihenNoYouDidnt

    @ TokyoGas...

    Most likely ends up petty theft with a warning infraction.

  • 1

    HighLama

    Poor man needs a solar cooker

  • 1

    gaijinfo

    He immediately called the police and reported the meal which was being prepared in his yard without his consent.

    What a pathetic idiot. Is it really so hard to knock on your neighbors door, and ask what's up? Maybe work out some kind of deal, an hour of rice cooking for a couple hundred yen?

    Seriously. Calling the cops right off the bat? What utter helplessness.

    I'll bet about twenty cops showed up and made like they were arresting public enemy number one...

  • 2

    Nessie

    Most likely ends up petty theft with a warning infraction.

    At least he'll be charged.

  • -4

    80393

    @gaijinfo, knocking on the neighbors door?? thats way too much confrontation for people here. best to let the police handle it. pathetic idiot is about right, id also add callous

  • 0

    nalunui05

    What a "petty ass----!" He could have waited to see who comes to get the rice, then ask about it. But no, instead....he dicks out and calls the police. No compassion, no neighbor, just a selfish kumquat!

  • -3

    nandakandamanda

    The guy with no electric should have built a fire in his garden. Or invested in a solar cooker, as HighLama said above.

    Taking electricity without asking is theft and the guy knew he was being underhanded.

  • 4

    inverse

    Japan, the land of passive aggression! The police didn't need to be involved. If I were this homeowner, I would've simply waited for the rice cooker's owner to come back for the rice, and say, "Hey uhhh... what's going on here?" Then once you've got the full scoop (ha), decide what to do. I bet if he had been asked to knock it off, he would've. Obviously the guy's down on his luck if his power's shut off. Now he has a criminal record too. Great.

  • 1

    borax

    Calling the police immediately and getting the guy arrested might be a bit much, but considering how exorbitantly expensive electricity is in this country, it's kind of understandable. For all this homeowner knew, maybe this kind of thing (perhaps not always rice) had been going on for quite a while.

  • -1

    David Quintero Navarro

    Is Osaka like another country?? Does not sound very Japanese but who knows, poor dude gets arrested and no rice!!

  • 2

    nandakandamanda

    How does anyone know the best thing to do, inverse?

    Maybe you are right, it was better to confront him, but maybe the 'thief' is also a local troublemaker and volatile/aggressive.

  • 1

    Bhateswar Bhutbhute

    hilarious!! I guess the old guy was too proud to ask for help, and the "victim" was too proud to let it go!

  • -1

    Weasel

    I'd be interested in knowing why the old man didn't (or couldn't) pay his utility bill in the first place. That bit of information would be helpful in the calculus of determining if I'd be sympathetic or indifferent towards the theft.

  • 0

    fupayme

    I would have just taken the rice and ate it myself as payment

    Then probably the guy wouldn't do that again :P

  • 0

    papasmurfinjapan

    What a badass police! This is an example of what they are really doing instead of putting more efforts in more serious stuff.

    In defence of the police, what else are they supposed to do? It's not like they are cracking down on electricity theft or anything. They responded to a complaint. However petty the crime, and however much a heartless bastard the neighbour may be, he was the victim of a crime and if he insists on pressing charges, the police have no choice but to carry out the request.

    I have been in a similar situation (not electricity theft, but the victim of a crime), and the police said it was entirely up to me, not them, whether or not to press charges. They explained my options, the pros and cons of each choice, and let me decide what to do about the perpetrator.

  • -1

    CGB Spender

    You don't let your neighbor not cook rice in your garden! That's just wrong!

  • 0

    goyabento

    he had begun using other homes power outlets to do his cooking

    This is the first time the old boy got caught, not the first he did it. No sympathies here...cops being called was the right move, no matter how petty it may seem. Dude that called the police didn't know who it was or how the 'culprit' would react.

  • 1

    FightingViking

    @papasmurfinjapan

    However petty the crime, and however much a heartless bastard the neighbour may be, he was the victim of a crime and if he insists on pressing charges, the police have no choice but to carry out the request.

    Now if only the police had thought of it that way - when the young lady was killed by a stalker (in my book, a far more hefty crime) she might still be alive today.

    @Marcelito : I think we understand each other perfectly ! Pity the mods have no sense of humour... (Hope you see this before it's deleted !)

  • -1

    Lilic

    Too bad people in this country don't even know or speak with your next door fellow. Where i came from is totally normal to call a neighbor for a cup of a sugar or a midnight aspirin. Its also common to show at his door with an awesome peace of cake you just baked and offer with no expectations of getting anything in return.

  • 1

    Gaijin Desi

    Same incident happened with me 3 years back when I suspect my electricity bill which was much higher than usual for a single who spent 18 hours out of his house. On investigation I found a couple residing beside my house was using my washing machine, I dont know what to do hence I put a board near washing m/c written in Japanese "please clean it once done" and those guys stop using my m/c. Personally I think if you dont understand your neighbours then what kind of society you are living in and for what?

  • 1

    FightingViking

    It's a completely different story when construction workers use your electricity for their building... When I lived in Ota-ku, they decided to build a new apartment lot next to our house. I went back to France for the Christmas holidays to find a bill for more than 15 000 yen when I got back - although the previous month, it had been for less than 5 000 yen with me at home... That's when I told the landlord to put a lock on the garage door - there were two sockets in the garage and since my car wasn't there while I was away, they were very easy to reach. It didn't happen again after a lock was installed.

  • -1

    ratpack

    Operator: Emergency Service can I help you? Caller: HELPPPPPPPPPP. SOMEONE IS COOKING RICE IN MY BACKYARD. Operator: Calm down sir. We will get the police there ASAP. Caller: PLEASE HURRY. The rice is gonna be cooked IN A COUPLE OF MINUTES. Operator: Sit tight and stay on the line until the police arrive sir. Now tell me again...how long until the rice is cooked?

  • -2

    ControlFreak

    I hope they don't lock him up even for the night. The electricity is free in jail, and they cook the food for you. He might take a serious liking the to the place, and resolve to do whatever it takes to keep living there!

  • 1

    sf2k

    not really a steak out then was it

  • 1

    scoobydoo

    The story has too little info about the neighbors to make any judgement. You can't tell which one was good or bad or either way. But one guy was stealing electricity.

  • 0

    Richard bHard

    Wonder if the police took the rice cooker for "evidence" and also wonder if they brought boxes to the guys house and seized all his food as part of this ongoing investigation of theft.?

  • 1

    spahnmatthew

    "...with only a few more minutes until the rice was finished." LOL

  • 0

    White_Shinobi

    I remember my buddy (whose wife worries and calls each ten minutes he is late lol) his phone died on the way home and he thought "oh crap, 45 minute walk home... No buses, no taxis... (In deep kitano) so on the way... He stopped by a gas station/conbini (cant remember) and unplugged a drink machine to get some phone juice to call his wife.... He heard a man yelling hysterically like he was barking... It was a staff member of the store and he stood up to reason with / apologize to the guy... But he ran to his little store locked the door and was screaming into his phone ... My friend grabbed his phone and charger and plugged the drink machine back.... And tried to run away.... Lol

    A squad car appeared instantly and arrested him...

    They called his wife, had her come out to pick him up... And said they wouldnt press charges because he knew his mistake and tried to plug the machine in again.... Lol

    What a great country!!! Lol

  • 0

    Fadamor

    This seems like a bit of overkill as-reported. In a civilized society, you unplug the device and take it indoors to await whomever comes looking for it. You then tell them to "cease and desist using your electricity without permission" and return the rice cooker with the partially cooked rice still inside. If it happens again, THEN you call the police. So many issues can be solved with a word or two without having to bring the law into it if only people would try it.

  • 1

    tokyodoumo

    Ours is a very forgiving society ready to help people in need...but only when a person asks for help first and is honest about his own dilemma. It is sad a common sensibilities are being lost in Japan with these petty crimes.

  • 2

    itsmeagain

    I would have eaten the rice and left a thank you note!

  • 0

    Kawesa Alan

    hilarious, now i'm getting ideas. My neighbour has a generator during power cuts.

  • -1

    Aaron Loki Brummett

    My neighbor has done some pretty strange things... she has a lot of trash sitting in her yard next to her rotting truck. And her tree takes a dumb on my lawn by shedding it's leaves all over the place! She does not subscribe to mandatory city trash service... which leads me to wonder what she does with the trash that doesn't get left in her yard. OUt of the blue she offered me a ladder just yesterday, to help cut down some of the branches on her tree. My point is this... what happened with the rice cooker is probably the tip of the ice burg. This has been going on for some time!

  • 0

    Scnadal.Lova

    He could have atleast let the man finish cooking his rice before calling the police.

  • 0

    602miko

    he can charge him 500 yen .... or at lease asking permission im sure they would allowed him to use the electricity.

  • -1

    Fukuppy

    He could have atleast let the man finish cooking his rice before calling the police.

    Not really. According to another article, the man had accidentally set the machine to warm the rice, not cook it, after all that!

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