To Catch A Game Thief

Earlier this year in Kyoto, an eight-year-old kid left his his gaming pouch in the restroom at his local supermarket. The pouch contained a portable game machine and some games. When he and his parents went looking for the pouch, it was already gone.

You've heard this story a million times. Someone leaves something behind, some arsehole takes it. This story, however, has a happy — if not totally cool — ending. Thank fate for that.

By chance, the boy and his father went to a used game shop and purchased a used copy of one of the stolen games later that summer, reported Sponichi.

The original report doesn't specific the game hardware, but Japanese netizens are assuming it is a Nintendo portable.

When the second grader popped in the game, he noticed something odd: one of the game characters had exactly the same first and last name as he did.

The boy and his father had purchased one of the stolen games, which still contained the boy's save data and which was not wiped clean by the thief.

The used game shop was down the road from the supermarket where the games were stolen.

Realising that they purchased their own game, the boy and his father contacted the police the next day. The police were eventually able to trace the seller of the stolen goods: a 50-year-old unemployed man. Yesterday, Kyoto police arrested him.

Crime is low in Japan, which is why it's not unusual to see people "saving" tables at shopping mall food courts by simply leaving their bags on them.

And when people do lose things, their lost items turn up. I've left a handful of umbrellas on the subway, and I've gotten all of them back. When people find lost items, they often either take it to a lost-and-found or leave it in a place where the owner can easily spot it (such as hanging it on a tree branch, folding it over a chair, whatever).

Even during this year's Tokyo Game Show, I left my MacBook plug behind, and I was able to recover it at TGS the following day.

Yet, there are arseholes. There are those who fester in wretched hives of scum and villainy. Good to see something as simple as a game save brought one of them to justice.

Culture Smash is a daily dose of things topical, interesting and sometimes even awesome — game related and beyond.

Top photo: Shizuo Kambayashi/AP


    Too bad this didn't work out for the camera I bought while I was in Japan. Lost days of photos!

    Hopefully someone out there left it hanging on a tree in Electric Town in Tokyo.

    If this was fiction, that would be a HUGE deus ex machina :)

      That's what she said.

      Sorry. Couldn't resist.

    didnt realise crime was so low there. at first i was thinking "shit happens, get over it". here, if you leave your ds unattended in your hand it'll get snatched. lol.

    A question of semantics :
    If the guy found an abandoned bag and took it, is it stealing??

      By that logic; if you left your house unattended and someone else moved in, is that really trespassing? Of course it's still stealing, the child still owned the bag and it's contents. Leaving somthing unattended doesn't forfeit your ownership of that item. On the flip side, watch out for your belongings! There are a lot of opportunist out there.

    Unfortunately, I left my backpack once on the subway at Tokyo. That didn't have a good ending as they came back saying that they scoured all the trains on that line and no bag was turned in.

    It was okay though as I was able to claim the notebook under travel insurance. :)

    Similar thing happened to me, altough I never needed to get the police involved. Lent my nephew my Gameboy Pocket and Pokémon Blue because he didn't have much of his own. When I asked about it a few weeks later, he claimed to have lost it. I was upset, but moved on. After all, these things happened, right?

    A few months later in a local pawn store, I find a Gameboy pocket of the same colour and a copy of Pokémon Blue. I buy them both to replace my lost ones. Try the game, and low and behold, it still has my original save on it, Pokémon and all. When I confronted my nephew about it, he admitted he had traded them at school for some ciggarettes. Guess who never got anything lent to him again?

      What a douche =/

      My nephew would be in a hell of lot more problems w/ me if he ever pulled a stunt like that i can assure you! =3

    Well done police-people.

    Here in the UK, my car tyres got slashed ages ago. Took the police three weeks to actually come out and take a look (and they were slightly miffed that I'd gone and replaced them) before admitting there was nothing they'd be willing to do.

    Wish our ones were more reliable. As it is, I've had fairly good experiences with Lost and Founds, having an all manner of stuff makings its way back to me, and returning the favour a couple weeks ago with a forgotten iPhone.

    My experience with Japanese police is if you don't bring the criminal with you to the police box, they won't do anything.
    They have such a low crime rate because most crime isn't reported.

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