Yakuza lieutenant arrested for stealing Pokémon cards

Yakuza lieutenant arrested for stealing Pokémon cards
Yakuza lieutenant arrested for stealing Pokémon cards

A lieutenant of a Yakuza organization has been arrested in Tokyo, trading usual criminal activities for the theft of high-value Pokémon cards.

In cinema and video games, the Yakuza is often portrayed in a romantic or dramatic manner, involved in bank robberies or extortion. But this time, a Yakuza lieutenant has just been arrested for a rather unusual crime: the theft of Pokémon cards. Because money has no smell and some collections are worth hundreds of thousands of euros.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police, more precisely the Tachikawa Police Station, arrested Keita Saito, 39, an influential member of the Takinogawa group of the Sumiyoshi-kai, the second largest criminal organization in Japan. Saito is accused of having burglarized an office in Ogano, in Saitama prefecture, stealing objects including 25 precious Pokémon cards, estimated at around 252,000 yen or around €1,500.

The operation, which took place at the end of December 2022, also involved Hidefumi Kuboshita, 56, currently unemployed and without proven links to the Yakuza. Kuboshita, who denies the charges, is said to have played a key role in planning the burglary. Two other accomplices are currently being sought, as reported by Sora News.

The case sparked a series of reactions online that ranged from amusement to disbelief, with many wondering if Yakuza activities had evolved so much that they were targeting TCG cards.

The theft of Pokémon cards by a Yakuza member shows that in the current economic context, collectible cards are becoming lucrative targets. For their value on the one hand, but also for the absence of traceability! A change in traditional Yakuza activities is taking place, and seems to be moving towards less conventional forms of crime.

Pokémon cards, due to their value and ease of resale, have become attractive targets for thieves. Faced with the ingenuity of criminals, collectors and specialist stores may have to strengthen their security measures to protect these coveted objects. And if this time the amount remains low, we imagine what the burglary of a Pokémon Center or a store specializing in TCGs could result in.

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