“Aren’t you our manager?” asked a shocked member of staff when a man wearing a mask and sunglasses and brandishing a kitchen knife entered the restaurant and demanded money.

The incident took place at 12:55 a.m. on 15 January at a restaurant serving yakitori (grilled chicken on skewers) in Tosu City, Saga Prefecture. The suspect, 22-year-old Hijiri Sato, entered the eatery just as staff were closing up for the night.

Holding a knife, he ordered the staff to hand over all the money. However, having been ordered around in that voice countless times before, the staff could easily recognize their own manager and promptly asked, “Are you Mr. Sato?”

After being identified, the manager removed his mask and told the staff, “Watch out for robberies.” as if it were all just a training exercise. Then he simply walked away.

At this point, you might be thinking that there’s a touch of genius to the stupidity of this man’s actions. After all, there was no way the staff could be sure that what had just happened to them wasn’t simply a poorly executed security drill after all. Certainly, no one would feel compelled to call the police.

But Sato wasn’t finished. According to Saga Shimbun, the following day, the same manager called the emergency police number, 110, and reported that “two people stole 300,000 yen (US$2,600) from the restaurant.”

In the ensuing investigation authorities found evidence suggesting that the restaurant had in fact been robbed — by Sato himself, who had allegedly embezzled around 57,000 yen ($500) from sales. On 8 February, charges of attempted robbery and embezzlement were laid on him and an arrest was made.

Although it seems likely the attempted robbery was intended to cover up the embezzlement, at the moment no motive is known for the initial theft and police are currently investigating the matter.

We also can’t rule out the possibility that this was all one elaborate training exercise for Sato’s employees to be on the lookout for both embezzlers and robbers…in which case we would have to commend his vigilance and attention to detail.

Source: Saga Shimbun, Christian Today, Reuters, FNN, Kinisoku (Japanese)
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