Police have arrested an elderly man for the heinous crime of picking 7 cherries from a tree, charging him with theft in a crime so shocking it was reported in Japan’s major newspapers and on TV.
The 66-year-old man was spotted one afternoon in Yamagata prefecture picking cherries from a tree in a field by a 64-year-old agricultural worker in a neighbouring field.
She called police, who came rushing to the scene. Upon questioning he admitted picking 7 cherries from the tree, worth a total of ¥200, and was promptly arrested for theft.
He claimed he “ate them because I was hungry.” The 69-year-old owner of the field says that “this year was a poor harvest, so each cherry is precious, but it’s also quite sad if he did this because he was hungry.”
Online there is some debate as to which is more amazing – that police went to the trouble of arresting him, that a crime of this scope found its way into the national media, that they felt the need to report his name (curiously recent cases of shoplifting teachers and police escaped this honour), or that 7 cherries cost all of ¥200.