Soggy bread is the pits. A great sandwich is equal parts texture and taste, so there’s no greater let-down when your bread feels like a freshly opened bucket of tile grout.

Actually, forget that. A bigger let-down is when someone exploits our shared hatred of soggy bread for their own personal gain. That’s what Tokyo Metro Police are suspecting Takashi Ishimoto of doing by making fraudulent complaints of damp sliced bread and raking in an estimated 30 million yen (US$251,000) from unsuspecting retailers in the process.

The media has described Ishimoto as “unemployed”, but “full-time hustler” might be a more appropriate title. The Chuo Ward, Tokyo, resident’s reported plan was alarmingly simple but relied on an amazing amount of audacity to pull off.

In the crime that led to his arrest, Ishimoto contacted a retailer who carried bread in Adachi City. Posing as a former customer, he complained that the sliced bread he had purchased there was soggy. Afterwards, he would contact the same store, this time pretending to be someone from their own head office. The fake authority figure would request that they bring him “some replacement bread and all the cash they took in for the day as an apology to the customer.”

In this instance, the 53-year-old Ishimoto was suspected of getting 300,000 yen (US$2,500), and worse, two new loaves of fluffy, dry sliced bread. Reports don’t specify how he exactly managed to convince the store he was both the customer and company employee, but he must have used a combination of phone, email, and/or in-person visits.

Tokyo Police say that Ishimoto admitted to the charges and upon further investigation have linked him to a series of cons with the same M.O. five years ago. They estimate those losses to be around 27 million yen ($226,000). Anpanman only knows how many free loaves the scoundrel absconded with as well during that time.

Readers in Japan had this to say about the incident:

“That’s genius.”
“Well, there’s a new way to make money.”
“That’s one professional unemployed guy.”
“Why would they even bring the day’s sales?!”
“Is the world getting stupider?”
“Why wouldn’t they ask for some ID before handing the money over?”

Sadly, these crimes will probably lead to stricter policies among bread sellers and in turn weakened customers service. This means next time any of us complains of bread that tastes like a washcloth, we’ll all now be treated like a potential thief rather than treated to our due apologies of cash and food. Thanks a lot, Ishimoto, you alleged jerk-head.

Source: TBS News/Yahoo! Japan News via Otakomu (Japanese)
Top Image: Wikipedia – kspoddar
Video: YouTube – TBS News-i