Educators might applaud her motivation, but the police arrested her anyway.

It’s been a busy couple of days for police in Japan, with rowdy Halloween street parties in Tokyo leading to at least five arrests for offences including groping and assault. But it’s not just downtown nightlife districts where criminals were apprehended this week, as a bookstore in Hyogo Prefecture was also the scene of a crime.

On the evening of October 29, an 18-year-old high school girl walked into the bookstore in front of JR Akashi Station. After some extensive browsing, she left without purchasing anything, but later returned to the store for her second visit between the hours of 7 and 8 p.m.

This time, something about the way she was moving about the store struck one of the employees as suspicious. When the staff approached the schoolgirl and examined her bag, they found it filled with books that she was attempting to steal. The police were summoned, and the subsequent investigation revealed that she’d already made off with 10 books from her first trip to the store that night, and in total had attempted to steal 25.

So just what sort of ill-gotten goods was the girl after? Manga, like the middle schooler who was arrested as part of a two-person thievery team at another Hyogo bookstore earlier this year? Smutty magazines she was too embarrassed to carry up to the register?

Nope. Among the books she’d stolen was one titled An Interesting and Easy to Understand Explanation of Exponents and Logarithms, and that was pretty much representative of the rest of her haul. All 25 books she’d taken were study-aids and educational reference books. It’s not like she was planning to resell them at discounted, yet to her pure-profit, prices to her peers, either. When the police arrived and questioned her, she not only admitted to having stolen the books, but said her intent was to use them herself to study with, and that she’d taken them because she doesn’t have the money to buy them with.

While her level of academic enthusiasm is admirable, the total cost of the books she’d taken comes to roughly 36,000 yen (US$320), which is beyond what Japanese society is generally willing to write off as an acceptable bending of the law by teenagers. The girl was formally arrested on October 30, and while punishment is yet to be handed down, hopefully any court-ordered rehabilitation process will include an orientation at her local public library.

Source: Kobe Shimbun Next via Hachima Kiko
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