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thomas

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Perhaps it's related to the economic slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but these days shrines and temples seem to be burgled more often. Today, the police released a video of a 3-week (!) operation that culminated in the thief's arrest in Saitama: he had stolen coins from several shrines. His loot: 655 yen. The officers had been lurking under tarps for over 4 hours, some of them in camouflaged sniper suits.

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Source: Saitama's finest catch coin thief at shrine after multi-week stakeout

Those two were also filmed, and got away with 30,000 yen but turned themselves in when the video was released.


1,500 yen in this case in Yokohama:


I have seen a young guy in our neighbourhood temple fishing for coins with a "sticky belt" and an older fellow manipulating the donation box at a nearby shrine during the New Year holidays who ran off after our dog started barking at him. I wonder what sentences they receive when caught.
 
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thomas

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Unfortunately, burglars no longer target donation boxes but antiquities housed at shrines and temples. Also, it's no longer homeless looking for a few coins but professionals sent by art collectors. :(

Of more concern to temples and shrines are the increasingly frequent thefts of religious statues and ancient artefacts that are all too often on open display. In early May, police from Kyoto Prefecture responded to an advert placed on an online auction site by an antique dealer in Oita Prefecture for a Buddhist statue. Bids started at Y1,000 (US$7.85) for what was described as a statue in good condition and standing 47cm tall. The item very quickly attracted more bids, the highest of which was Y175,000 (US$1,373), before authorities contacted the antique dealer, and told him to remove it from the auction site. [...] The case is one of the hundreds across the country authorities believe – temples and shrines in Wakayama Prefecture alone have reported the theft of around 300 statues since 2008 – with an accurate figure difficult to ascertain because officials may not be aware that items have been stolen from rural and rarely visited sites.

 
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