According to the Global Peace Index, Japan is the ninth-safest country in the world. As such, theft is not exactly common practice on these shores, with few people checking their pockets in fear of being pickpocketed. However, a shocking event did occur here this morning, when someone crashed into a Lawson convenience store in Hamamatsu city and attempted to steal its ATM. Fortunately, they failed. The person then snooped around, but ultimately left with a trail of broken glass and, undoubtedly, a lot of shame.

Early Morning Lawson Vandal

If I had a dollar for every time a forklift truck rammed into a convenience store in suburban Hamamatsu to steal away an entire ATM unsuccessfully, I’d have a dollar — which isn’t a lot, but it’s weird it happened at all. Early this morning, at around 4:20 a.m, someone drove a vehicle resembling a forklift truck into the Lawson Hamamatsu Hojicho store in an attempt to rob the ATM installed inside. 

When the police officers arrived at the scene, the store was closed (it doesn’t stay open all night like many of the shops in Tokyo) and there were thankfully no staff inside. The entrance and nearby glass were broken, and the ATM had been knocked over, but most definitely still there.

According to the police, the store’s security camera captured the image of the vehicle crashing into the store, failing to take away the ATM, and then fleeing in the very vehicle it arrived in. Only one suspicious individual was seen on the surveillance camera, and no cash was stolen from the ATM, but the suspect did reportedly rummage around the cash register area.

The police are confirming the extent of the damage and investigating the whereabouts of the person who fled as part of the attempted theft.

The crime scene is located around 3 kilometers south of JR Hamamatsu Station, in an area surrounded by residential and agricultural land.

Convenience Store Theft

Although we don’t hear the words forklift truck, ATM and convenience store strung together in one sentence very often, theft in convenience stores is unfortunately not uncommon. Just last May, a man robbed ¥300,000 from a FamilyMart in Tokyo’s Shibuya district. There was also an incident in 2016 where ¥1.4 billion was stolen from convenience store ATMs over the course of a couple of hours. 

Although Japan is most definitely a safe place to live and visit, this failed ATM theft attempt is a cautionary tale that freak incidents can truly happen anywhere, even in your neighborhood Lawson.

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