Home Society & Culture Man Shoplifted 4 Cacti And Punched Guard Because He “Likes Plants,” Tokyo Police Say

Man Shoplifted 4 Cacti And Punched Guard Because He “Likes Plants,” Tokyo Police Say

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“Shoplifting a cactus” sounds like it would be very painful.

Instagram has helped police in Tokyo track down a man who allegedly loved plants so much he couldn’t stop himself from shoplifting cacti.

According to police, on June 24 at about 7:20 p.m., the suspect, an unemployed 45-year-old man named Izuru Kobayashi, stole four potted cacti of unspecified size from a home improvement supply store in Tokyo’s Nakano Ward.

As Kobayashi was making his way out of the store a 73-year-old loss prevention officer/security guard noticed him and tried to stop him. However, Kobayashi resisted and punched the man in the face multiple times, causing him to lose consciousness briefly and leaving him with serious injuries which took about a month to recover from.

Police were able to use security camera footage to identify the suspect as Kobayashi and put him on a national wanted list. However, they were at first unable to track him down.

Then, in July, in what was either an example of excellent police work or just a shot in the dark, investigators began looking on Instagram and found an account with a name similar to the suspect’s. Among the roughly 3,300 photos posted to the Instagram account was at least one of the stolen cacti on a balcony. Using details seen in the photo, such as the background, along with the text in the post, which made mention of a certain supermarket, police were able to determine that the photo had been taken in Tokyo’s Itabashi Ward.

Police began to stake out the Itabashi area and soon enough they were able to track down Kobaashi, who had been staying at the apartment of a female acquaintance. The stolen cacti are presumably fine.

Kobayashi was arrested on July 24 under suspicion of aggravated robbery. He has admitted to the allegation, reportedly telling police “I was shoplifting and he wouldn’t let me go so I punched him.” He also seemed to offer the following as a reason for why he took the cacti in the first place: “I like plants.”

The Mainichi Shinbun further added that it is thought that Kobayashi’s hobby was raising plants. And Ojama Channel implied that most of the roughly 3,0300 photos found on Kobayashi’s Instagram account were of plants.

Reports have yet to reveal exactly how it was that Kobayashi was able to leave the store with four potted cacti in hand and fight off a security guard. Regardless though, it seems like it may be best for Kobayashi to take a break from his beloved plants for a while and focus a bit on his people skills.

Source: ANN News, Mainichi Shinbun, Ojama Channel
Image: サボテン万引きか SNSの盗品画像で男を特定(18/07/24) (ANN News)

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