Press "Enter" to skip to content

Boots made for…sniffing: Suspected thief found with 300

TOKYO (TR) – There are those, like Nancy Sinatra, who find pleasure in taking strides in their boots. But for a 53-year-old man living in Adachi Ward the appeal is more olfactory than ambulatory.

In March, Tokyo Metropolitan Police first arrested Hiroyuki Kamio, a company employee, for stealing a two white work boots from a chicken meat factory in Adachi Ward.

After continuing the investigation, police last week accused Kamio in a second case. But that’s not all: As Nikkan Sports (May 14) reports, officers also uncovered a treasure trove of nearly 300 (likely stolen) boots in his residence.

The second case took place at around 4:00 p.m. last October 24, when Kamio trespassed into an elementary school in the same ward by climbing a fence. He then allegedly stole two boots valued at around 2,000 yen.

“I stole worn boots after smelling them,” the suspect was quoted by the Takenotsuka Police Station in admitting to the allegations.

Hiroyuki Kamio
Hiroyuki Kamio (Twitter)

“I am a factory employee”

Police first arrested Kamio early on March 15, when officers on patrol near the chicken meat factory began questioning him after he fled the scene on a bicycle. “I am a factory employee,” he falsely said.

Security camera footage showed a person believed to be Kamio, wearing a blue jacket, hat and gloves, taking the boots from the factory.

According to the factory, 12 other boots had gone missing from since December. But a search of his residence revealed that the suspect was behind a lot of other thefts as well.

During the search, police seized 271 boots, 17 bags of rubber gloves and 7 rubber aprons packed in plastic bags to preserve their smell. “I like the smell of the working man,” the suspect told police.

Surveillance camera taken at a chicken meat factory in Adachi Ward shows a suspected boot thief
Surveillance camera taken at a chicken meat factory in Adachi Ward shows a suspected boot thief (Twitter)

“If they did not smell, I tossed them”

Police also seized a memorandum that chronicled the thefts. However, the number of boots (352), bags of gloves (30) and aprons (14) that were listed did not match with the total of each item as found on the premises. “If they did not smell, I tossed them,” he said in explaining the discrepancy.

Kamio targeted 42 locations in Adachi Ward and 12 in Katsushika Ward, including 21 elementary schools, 16 middle schools, 15 factories, supermarkets and sushi restaurants and a retirement home and a hospital.

In all of the incidents, Kamio only stole items for adults. Police believe that the motivation for the suspect was sexual pleasure.

“I started from the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake,” he said in referring to the natural disaster of 2011. “I became hooked on the smell of rubber. I have been interested in the smell of rubber since I was an elementary school student.”