GIFU (TR) – Prepare yourself, dear reader, as the following story gets out of hand — and quickly.
On February 4, Gifu Prefectural Police announced the arrest of 57-year-old man from Kakamigahara City over the alleged theft of one pair of women’s underwear and a tank top.
According to police, the suspect, of no known occupation, allegedly swiped the garments as they hung out to dry in the carport of a 69-year-old woman residing in the same city at exactly 4:39 p.m. on February 3.
By any measure — even the down-to-the-minute pinpointing of the time — the tale to this point is pretty standard in the annals of the genre. But, as evening tabloid Tokyo Sports (Feb. 6) tells it, the suspect’s explanation is most unpalatable — or is that un-palm-able?
“I did not especially intend to steal [the underwear]. Rather it was my wandering hands acting on their own,” the suspect was quoted.
Absurd? Possibly. But, cautions the tabloid, it could also prove to be a successful ploy.
“Only wanted to smell the garment”
The paper points out that for theft to be a crime the perpetrator must be proven to have intended to steal the item. It points out that a man accused of theft of women’s underwear last year was subsequently not prosecuted after he claimed to have “only wanted to smell” the garment.
But wait. It just gets better.
In the case in Kakamigahara, police nabbed the suspect during a stakeout. On January 23, the woman consulted with police after noticing other items missing from her line four days before.
On the afternoon of February 3, officers positioned themselves in front of the woman’s residence. Upon seeing a male figure enter the car port and confirming the disappearance of the garments, an officer pursued the now escaping thief.
“He threw away the underwear and made a break for it,” an officer was quoted by the paper.
“I did a bad thing”
Police suspect that the man’s conscience got the better of him — “I did a bad thing,” he might have thought — causing him to give himself up.
Whether or not the suspect will be proven to have had an intent to steal the garments will not be known until the case is in the hand of prosecutors. For now, the aforementioned officer tells the paper that the “wandering hands” explanation is “impossible.”
Given that the suspect seems to be something of a kleptomaniac, Tokyo Sports suggests he receive help from a medical professional.