Train pickpocket suspected of over 200 thefts

TOKYO —

Tokyo metropolitan police said Friday that a man arrested for stealing a woman:s purse from her bag on a crowded train on Jan 18 has admitted to stealing items from train passengers more than 200 times over the past four years.

Police identified the suspect as Takayuki Okaniwa, 43, an unemployed resident of Tokyo. NTV reported Friday that Okaniwa was caught in the act of lifting a woman’s bag on the JR Saikyo line between Shinjuku and Ikebukuro stations. He was charged in that case with the theft of 25,000 yen from the woman.

Okaniwa was quoted by police as saying that he spent all the money that his father left him and that he started pickpocketing four years ago to make ends meet. He said he usually targeted women commuters on crowded trains on Friday nights.

Police said Okaniwa’s total take over four years was about 14 million yen.

Japan Today

  • 2

    AKBfan

    Why is the confession always so detailed?

  • 2

    Vernie Jefferies

    14 Million...Wow. He was unemployed with a steady income.

  • 8

    BurakuminDes

    Why is the confession always so detailed?

    I think it might have something to do with a rain of cops' fists and kicks to the suspects head and body before the pre-prepared admission is given to him to sign. Anyway - glad they nabbed this grub - I just hope he really is the criminal who committed all those crimes.

  • 3

    RedMango

    14 million yen ! Over 200 times ! That's about 70,000 yen every Friday night !

  • -3

    Ramzel

    14 Million...Wow. He was unemployed with a steady income.

    14M over 4 years isn't that good... 3.5M / year.

  • 2

    Cortes Elijah

    @ramzel that is actually a good amount!

  • 6

    Mirai Hayashi

    Okaniwa was quoted by police as saying that he spent all the money that his father left him and that he started pickpocketing four years ago to make ends mee

    There is something called a job. Its something us square folk get when our fathers don't leave us a sizable inheritance.

  • 6

    cleo

    200 incidents, let's say each incident took him two hours (probably actually much, much less - but counting in travel time, stalking time, etc.) that's ¥35,000 an hour. Way better'n what I earn!

  • 1

    multitasker

    Good one, #Burakumin! Let me guess, a nasty pachinko habit is to blame? I`m astounded/dumbfounded how careless people are with their bags/purses having ¥20,000 to 80,000 in them.

  • 4

    zichi

    On other posts, it shows all the purses/pocket books he stole, so I guess the cops must have found them at his home, many tens of them. Dumb!

  • -1

    afanofjapan

    multitasker, Japan is still very much a cash based society. Lots of restaurants etc dont accept cards, AND Bank ATMs are only open 9-5 weekdays (yes seriously!), or with 250-300yen fees for withdrawal after 5pm

    So the norm is to carry more cash around, so you dont get stuck without an ATM. It is a comparitively safe society so it isnt as bad as it sounds. My wife always calls me a cheapskate because i dont carry more than 10k around with me normally (My bank is one of the few with 24hr ATMs).

    Of course the one time i did have 30k in my wallet it got stolen :-/

  • 1

    Saulo Akazawa

    Maybe he had an Excell spread sheet with all the details. His columns would include description of the person, type of bag, type of wallet, cash, other id, credit card, cash card, date, time, train line... humm... maybe easier to find a daytime job!!!

  • 0

    ambrosia

    afanofjapanFEB. 15, 2013 - 04:27PM JST multitasker, Japan is still very much a cash based society. Lots of restaurants etc dont accept cards, AND Bank ATMs are only open 9-5 weekdays (yes seriously!), or with 250-300yen fees for withdrawal after 5pm

    Where have you been? Nowadays plenty of places, especially in Tokyo, take credit cards and there are ATMs everywhere. So you have to pay a fee if it's after hours or not your bank. Doesn't it make more sense to pay a few hundred yen rather than carrying around a lot of cash that you probably don't need at that time and risk losing it all, especially on a Friday night when you're more likely to get a bit pissed and be more careless than usual?

  • 3

    chinpira

    @Ramzel

    14M over 4 years isn't that good... 3.5M / year.

    Since he's not paying tax that the equivalent to a gross wage of around 350,000 per month 4.2M/year...

    or the equivalent to what a researcher or engineer would be earning if you believe these stats...

    http://www.worldsalaries.org/japan.shtml

    Not a bad part-time job... wonder if he was earning unemployment benefits on top of this.

  • -1

    afanofjapan

    ambrosia, i have been right here in Tokyo. Yes there are many shops that will accept credit cards, but a lot of the friday night nomikais are at izakaya that do not accept CCs.

    Of course it is possible to get around with a CC and only some loose change, and i dont mind having under 10k in my wallet, but go and check the wallets of your Japanese friends - every one of them will have at least 20,000yen in their wallets. It is the done thing here. It is still much more cash based than other countries.

    • Moderator

      Back on topic please.

  • 0

    Ramzel

    Hmm seems like I have a lot of people disagreeing with me.

    My main point was that if I were to become a career criminal, I would do it for a lot more than 3.5MJPY a year (or as chinpira pointed out - without having to pay tax, 4.2M).

    Knowing professional wage averages in Japan, be it 3.5M or 4.2M, it isn't worth being a criminal for. You can make much more going legit.

  • 0

    Lowly

    Ya, or maybe he did it only once or twice,

    And when he got caught, the cops decided to clear 200 open, unsolved cases using him and his "extracted" confession.

  • 0

    ambrosia

    afanofjapan: I guess I disagree with the "a lot of" bit because in the past few years I've rarely been to a place that won't take them. But either way, yes I know that people carry a lot of cash and that's the way it's done, but that doesn't make it smart, which was my main point. This isn't the first time I've heard or read about a pickpocket like in the story above and I've had numerous friends who've "lost" their wallets or bags so you'd think that people would wise up and only carry what they need, especially on Friday nights. Additionally, 20,000 yen is far less than the 80,000 yen that multitasker mentioned and to which I should have mentioned in my post. Sorry.

  • 0

    Kashiwa

    Are there lots of pickpocket-related crimes in Japan? I lived in the Tokyo area in the 70's and 80's and never heard or worried about "dips."

  • 0

    Hanna~ 華

    He could actually earned 14 million yen, that's impressive!

  • -1

    Kimokekahuna Hawaii

    I am sure he is not the only one nor the best. He should be pushed in front of a train but that would anger commuters. With that kind of money he could have invested it in TEPCO stock. I think some of these women's bags are more expensive than any amount of cash inside. Cell phone technology makes to swipe to pay.. instad of being swiped... but restaurants like cash business..

  • 0

    ambrosia

    Kashiwa: I don't know about in the 70s or 80s but I know that in the early 90s I saw a program on Japanese television where there was an undercover camera, on a cop I assume, showing different pickpockets plying their trade on drunk and sleeping commuters. Also, last year or two years ago there was a story here about an older woman who'd been arrested some crazy amount of times for shoplifting or pickpocketing. I can't remember which. Obviously I have no way to prove it but I'd bet the number of pickpocket victims is much higher than one would think just because people probably assume they lost their wallet when out shopping, drinking, etc. and don't automatically assume it was stolen.

  • 0

    cramp

    man's got madskillz...

  • 0

    JoeBigs

    "Jan 18 has admitted to stealing items from train passengers more than 200 times over the past four years."

    Easiest way for cops to clear old crimes is to pin them on someone.

    Guy will probably get the minimum and the cops will get to clear their books.

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