A man has been given a 1 year prison sentence for stealing ¥2 worth of electricity, after courts heard he wouldn’t work and stole the electricity so he could keep watching TV all day.
The man, a 46-year-old unemployed resident of Osaka, was found to have broken the cover of a plug socket in the corridor outside his apartment, which then attached a cable to in order to steal electricity.
Prosecutors painted an unfavourable picture of the man:
“He couldn’t be bothered to work and he failed to pay his rent and utility bills – he stole the electricity as he wanted to use his TV and appliances. He was warned by the janitor to stop it, but he wouldn’t listen. He hasn’t paid any compensation either.”
He succeeded in making off with 0.15 kilowatts, worth about ¥2.5. Charges of theft and property damage (for the socket cover) were subsequently brought against him.
Although a first offence, the court was disinclined to be overly lenient – the prosecution sought a 1 year prison sentence, and got it, though the judge suspended the sentence for three years in light of the circumstances surrounding the case.
The judge rebuked him for his worthless existence:
“You seem to have expressed an intent to live off of benefits in future. Please sort out your life.”
The court expressed the opinion that it might be meeting him again in future:
“He says work is too much hassle and intends to go on being unemployed, so there is a significant chance of him reoffending.”
Japanese courts and police often take a dim of electricity theft, although in this case it is perhaps rather understandable.