HYOGO (TR) – A young police officer here pinched 10,000 yen from a lost wallet thinking no one would notice — after all, Japanese citizens turned in a staggering 3.34 billion yen in lost money in 2015.
Yet Yuuki Hamasaki, 21, of Higashinada-sho Station’s Sawa-No-I outpost was caught red-handed after a woman alerted Hyogo Prefectural Police the suspect failed to issue a slip acknowledging the wallet had been in police custody, the Sankei Shimbun reported on Saturday (July 16).
Prefectural police arrested Hamasaki on Saturday over embezzlement charges for allegedly stealing ¥10,000 from a lost wallet at around 1:20 a.m. on July 10.
“I wanted money,” Hamasaki was quoted as telling police by the Mainichi Broadcasting System. “I figured no one would know if a bit of money went missing.”
A woman, accompanied by her mother, went to collect her wallet at Hamasaki’s outpost when he failed to issue a slip acknowledging that the item had been in police custody.
The wallet owner’s mother became suspicious and told prefectural police that the way Hamasaki handled the procedure was strange.
A prefectural police investigation revealed a ¥25,000 discrepancy between the amount of cash in the wallet filed by the owner’s report and the figure that was recorded by police when the wallet was turned in.
Hamasaki admitted to the charges after he was confronted with the findings of the case.
“I figured I could get away with embezzlement since I didn’t check what was inside the wallet (in front of the woman) when she came to collect it,” Hamasaki told police.
Prefectural police are probing the possibility Hamasaki has a history of committing similar crimes.
Hamasaki is the sixth officer or staff member of Hyogo Prefectural Police to be arrested since January.