Thief managed to steal 1,230,000 yen (US$11,184) worth of stuff.
According to Kobe Shimbun newspaper (the same paper that brought us news of a man attacking people looking at their phone screens while they walked), a 30-year-old man of no fixed abode was arrested recently on suspicion of trespass for living in an amusement arcade. According to detectives, the defendant had somehow managed to live there by wedging himself between arcade machines and hiding there.
The plot thickened as it also transpired that he had been breaking into a local junior high school and other buildings in order to steal money, bags and students’ P.E. kits. Despite working a part-time job in the city, the accused had, by breaking into the school and other buildings, managed to steal money and goods adding up to around 1,230,000 yen (US$11,184).
▼ A Japanese amusement arcade, seen here with assorted medal games. It’s often joked that Japanese people can sleep anywhere and anywhen, often standing up on the last train home, but to sleep amongst the noise and flashing lights of these machines takes some beating.
Explaining how the man became homeless, police revealed that the defendant had left his home in Kyoto last year because of a breakdown in the relationship with his mother. Relying on a friend, he moved to Kobe city in Hyogo Prefecture. Before taking up residence in the arcade, he had been staying in cheap lodging houses and 24-hour manga cafés.
Police described the criminal as having hidden himself in between arcade machines. While amusement arcades, or game centres as they’re known in Japan, are poorly-lit and open either until late or sometimes 24-hours, it seems hard to imagine that someone could live there without being noticed. Japanese netizens had some ideas about life amongst the machines, though:
“It seems like you could probably live inside a ‘Pop’n’ music arcade machine’s housing.”
“The heat from the machines would be pretty hot don’t you think?”
“In a big arcade it wouldn’t be impossible to live in some of the dead space behind one of the larger machines, but it wouldn’t exactly feel great.”
“If there was a decent hiding spot you could go into and come out of without security cameras or staff seeing you, you could hide there whenever the shop opened or closed, line up empty seats to sleep on when there was nobody around, if loads of people came you’d have to quickly dive out.”
“Ah, Kobe as usual.”
Then again, people have been discovered living above public toilets in Oita Prefecture or in public baths in Osaka, so who knows where you might find someone squirrelled away? I quickly checked under my desk and down the back of my sofa, so far they’re clear.