OITA (TR) – Rinse, repeat.
In December, 2017, Kohei Nojima pulled 250,000 yen in cash from the register of a convenience store in Oita City on his first day as a part-time clerk. He never returned.
The caper, according to evening tabloid Nikkan Gendai (Sept. 7), was repeated dozens of times at convenience stores nationwide over a roughly one-year period — that is, until a tip led to his arrest.
“I did it to cover living expenses,” Nojima was quoted by the Oita-Chuo Police Station in admitting to the allegations.
Nojima is already under prosecution in the case. On September 4, a supplementary indictment was filed on the defendant.
30 convenience stores
Between August, 2017 and October of the following year, Nojima, a resident of Shiga Prefecture, pulled swindles at 30 convenience stores in 16 administrative districts across the nation.
The total amount stolen by Nojima — from registers and safes — was about 10 million yen. In applying for the jobs, he presented a work history that included a fake name, police said.
“He’d stay at a hotel near a convenience store that he was targeting. He made inquiries by telephone or in person,” an investigator tells the tabloid.
During the interview, Nojima offered to start “work” that day. “Because he left the place so quickly, he had no real chance to interact with other employees,” the investigative source continued.
On his first day at a store, Nojima would stuff cash from the register or from a safe in a back office into the pockets of his uniform when the attention of other employees was diverted.
If the haul was big, he would insert the bills into a plastic bag from the store. After exiting the premises, he would discard his uniform.
After two incidents emerged in Oita, police made a wanted poster. On October 30, 2018, police received a tip from an employee at a store in Oita City about “a person resembling” the man in poster. The employee said that the person was coming to start a shift at 3:00 p.m. that same day.
Upon the arrival of Nojima, officers nabbed him at the store. Police later learned that over a 10-year period he had been arrested three times for the same crime.
According to police, Nojima’s smallest yield (50,000 yen) came from a store in Kanagawa Prefecture. Meanwhile, his largest was 1.279 million yen, from a store in Shiga.
“He was on a pace of about two or three [capers] a month,” the investigator said. “But after the Shiga job, he didn’t pull another one for about three months.”
While moving around the nation, Nojima traveled by public transportation. The defendant stayed nights at business hotels.
In addition to the aforementioned “living expenses,” the stolen money was used “on entertainment and his next crime,” the investigator said. “But he didn’t gamble or drink, so he had a sound foundation [in some ways].”