Call it a soiled crime: a man has been arrested after he allegedly stole more than 700 pieces of ladies’ underwear from a coin-operated laundromat in Japan.
Identified as 56-year-old Tetsuo Urata, it is understood the man was sprung stealing six pairs of panties from a 21-year-old female college student at a coin-operated laundry facility in the southern Japanese prefecture of Oita.
The incident, which took place on 24 August 2021, resulted in Mr Urata’s prompt arrest.
However, it was only when police conducted a search of the thief’s home in the aftermath of his capture that they discovered a whopping 730 further pieces of underwear strewn around his place (that’s a lot of underwear).
According to local media, the man is yet to be convicted for the crime.
Police Admit They “Haven’t Confiscated Such A Large Number of Panties in Years” Upon Overflowing Underwear Discovery
In case you’re wondering just how sizeable having over 700 pieces of underwear in your home is, images of Mr Urata’s thievery were provided by police from Beppu City to local news outlets and what was revealed was simply mind-boggling.
Hundreds of panties, in all shapes, sizes and colours were laid out on the floor, each, no doubt, telling a story (likely of spinning cycles and sudden mystery disappearances).
But perhaps more mind-boggling was the fact that after taking the photos, officers admitted they “haven’t confiscated such a large number of panties in years”.
Indeed, this begs the troubling question: is the bewildering crime of underwear theft not actually uncommon?
As one would expect, the news story was quick to go viral and cause quite the stir on social media, with users finding the man’s panty pilfering challenging to comprehend.
“What was he even doing with so many? I hope he thinks about what he’s done in prison,” one user expressed on social media of the man’s curious hobby.
“It used to be that you could steal a piece or two of clothing easily at coin laundries, but now they’re equipped with security cameras so stop it already,” another netizen asserted.
One online campaigner simply concluded, “Not only does it suck to have your stuff stolen, but then you have to spend money and buy more. What a jerk!”
In Japan, it is not uncommon for apartments and homes to not have washing machines.
Similarly, driers are almost unheard of.
As a result, Japan is littered with coin-operated laundry facilities for citizens to use.
Indeed, as this bizarre crime however reveals, unfortunately doing your laundry away from your home can bring the very real danger of having your garments stolen if you’re not there watching them spin for the entire time.
At least, in this case, the culprit was caught.
Under NSW jurisdiction, stealing – or the crime of taking property or money that belongs to another person, regardless of what that property or the value of it is – is known as larceny.
The offence of stealing in NSW is actually one of the most commonly prosecuted offences in the state.
Larceny is an offence under section 117 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), which carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail – although this sentence tends to be handed in only the most serious of cases, while penalties are determined according to the value of the property stolen.
In order to establish a larceny offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you:
- Took and carried away property
- The property belonged to another
- The property was taken without the consent of the owner
- The property was taken with the intention of permanently depriving the owner
It should be noted that a larceny offence does not take place if the property was taken away for a temporary purpose and not to deprive the owner of it permanently.
Furthermore, an offence is also not committed if you had a genuine belief that you were entitled to the property (claim of right).