Steal items to sell online

More and more shoplifting to order in Japan

In Japan, there are more and more cases of shoplifting to order as this method has become very popular with thieves.

The police in Kanagawa Prefecture have now uncovered such a case. The goods were first sold online and only then stolen to be sent to the buyer. For shoplifters, this type of theft means that they do not have to store any goods, thus reducing the risk of getting caught. It is difficult for the investigators to find out about the perpetrators.

First sold, then stolen

In December, a 25-year-old man was arrested in Kanagawa for stealing ten books. When questioned, the man said, “I used to sell the books I stole online, but my stocks kept growing. After I received the orders, it was less of a hassle to steal them. "

Investigators suspect the man used images of books that other people posted on a marketplace app to create a fake product page and then stole items that people successfully bid for. Police tracked the man down based on footage from the security camera and a backpack he'd left behind.

When questioned by the police, he stated that he had searched internet shopping sites for items that were at the top of the rankings and then selected them for theft and sold for practically the same price as the normal retail price. The police also discovered about 40 books in the man's apartment and are now investigating whether these were also stolen.

Shoplifting to order is becoming increasingly popular

According to the national police agency, a total of 158,020 shoplifting were reported in Japan in 2004, and by 2019 the number had fallen to 93,812. However, there has been a surge in the number of stolen items being sold online. It is not easy for the authorities to take action against the sale of stolen items on the Internet. With mass-produced items such as books, it is difficult to determine whether the item is stolen or not, and even if it is found to be stolen, it can be difficult to locate the location where the item was stolen. Also, there are no guarantees that the account of the person selling the item will go to the person who stole it.

In June 2018, the NPO set up an internet working group on the grounds that internet sales encourage shoplifting. In June 2020 this working group was upgraded to a commission and it strengthened the countermeasures against the sale of stolen items. She receives information about suspicious accounts from Mercari Inc. and Yahoo Japan Corp., who operate internet marketplaces and auction sites, and passes the information on to the police if necessary. In August 2019, this information revealed a theft.

Market place operators tighten countermeasures

Mercari monitors products and transactions around the clock, 365 days a year with the help of artificial intelligence and if products are suspected that they are not genuine, the listings are deleted or warnings are issued. Yahoo also bans the listing of illegally acquired items and carries out regular checks on its system and is also working with the police to remove items from the list.