Late fee works out to be more than the cost of a new car. 

On 5 September, Kyoto Prefectural Police arrested 44-year-old Masafumi Hagiwara in Fushimi Ward, Kyoto City, for embezzlement. The charge? He’d kept a rental car for over a year past the return deadline.

Police say Hagiwara hired the car from a rental company in Fushimi Ward on 25 June last year. On 2 July, when the car was due to be returned, Hagiwara called the company to extend the rental, saying “I’m in Tokyo so I’d like to request an extension”.

However, Hagiwara still failed to return the car, keeping it and using it as if it were his own vehicle until the cops caught up with him on 4 August this year.

It’s estimated that by the time Hagiwara was found by police, the late fee on the vehicle would be somewhere in the range of 7.66 million yen (US$72,086) — more than the cost of a brand new vehicle.

People online were quick to react to the story with comments like:

“What was he thinking? He signed a contract so there was no way he wouldn’t get caught.”
“What’s most surprising is the fact that nobody tracked him down for over a year.”

“He could’ve bought two new cars, or five lightweight kei vehicles instead!”
“So this is embezzlement and not stealing?”
“It’s like he caused the company lost profits.”
“A friend of mine works at a rental car company and they say this happens sometimes – some people even hire cars to commit crimes.” 

While commenters tried to make sense of the man’s actions and pondered over his motives, others mentioned how inconvenient it can be when you have to return vehicles to the same branch.

Still, that doesn’t mean it’s okay to keep rental cars past their deadline, and if you do want to make an epic journey to Tokyo from hundreds of kilometres away, you can always do it by bicycle.

Source: Livedoor News via Hachima Kikou 
Featured image: Pakutaso
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