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Saitama’s finest catch coin thief at shrine after multi-week stakeout

TOKYO (TR) – Ninjas, they were just like ninjas — until one fell on his face.

Saitama Prefectural Police last month used a multi-week stakeout to arrest a suspected coin thief at a shrine in Iruma City, reports TV Asahi (Nov. 10).

The actual apprehension was carried out by five officers, and just for you, dear reader, there is security camera footage of the whole amazing incident.

At just past 10:00 p.m. on October 16, the suspect, Kyosho Hiranuma, of no known occupation, allegedly took 665 yen in coins from a donation box at Atago Shrine.

In the footage, Hiranuma, attired in a jacket and baseball cap, turns over the box into his hand to seemingly pocket the change.

As he walks away while appearing to count his loot, three officers emerge from under a tarp nearby and move quickly to attempt to block his path.

After one tumbles to the ground, a fourth approaches from another direction. (More on him later.) When a fifth officer arrives, the suspect gives himself up.

“Are you the police?” the suspect asks. One officer responds, “That’s right!”

As the suspect takes off his hat, one officer photographs the contents of his left hand.

“There are five 100-yen coins,” one officer proclaims.

A thief stole 665 yen from a shrine in Iruma City on October 16 (Twitter)

“I think it’s very depressing”

“Well, it’s a small amount of change,” Toshihisa Moriyama, the proprietor of the shrine, tells Fuji News Network (Nov. 10). “I think it’s very depressing that the [Saitama Prefectural Police] had to go to such lengths over the theft of several hundred yen.”


The first three officers were under the tarp for more than four hours. Then there is the matter of the camouflage.

As the officers question Hiranuma, it is clear that the fourth one is wearing a jacket adorned in leaves and shrubs — just like those used by hunters.

A reporter for Fuji News Network says that the camouflage wear was borrowed from another officer, all so that he could conceal himself amongst leaves at the shrine.

An officer in camouflage meets Kyosho Hiranuma (Twitter)

“Large or small”

All told, more than 10 officers worked the stakeout. And it was not just on this day; they had carried out the sting for an astounding three weeks.

Fuji News Network says that such thefts increase as the New Year’s holidays approach.

One officer told the network, “As a police officer, I would like to strictly crack down on crimes that make the citizens of the prefecture uneasy, regardless of whether the amount [involved] is large or small.”

On Monday, police accused Hiranuma in another theft case. He has declined to comment on the allegations in both instances, police said.