We’re not sure which was more disappointing: getting caught in the act of stealing, or learning that the food he spotted wasn’t real.

On January 6 around 3:30 pm in Saga City, a 62-year-old man overcome by extreme hunger mistook the plastic food samples in the window of a restaurant for the real thing. He entered the restaurant with the thought of snatching the food from the inside of the showcase to eat.

Now, if you haven’t seen them before, plastic food samples are common at Japanese restaurants. They allow diners to get a sneak peek of what they might want order on the menu (and are great for visitors who don’t speak Japanese to simply point at). To be fair, the models are incredibly realistic and often artistically arranged in store windows. There’s even an annual contest sponsored by the leading plastic food maker in Japan.

▼ If you’re confused because your taste buds are now watering over plastic models, you’re not the only one…

Upon entering the restaurant, the man noticed that the cash register’s drawer was open, so he decided to switch tactics to trying to steal some money instead. However, the restaurant’s manager then caught him red-handed in the act. He tried to flee but a worker caught him right outside of the entrance and he was arrested. The man admitted to attempting to steal the money, and during questioning the police determined that he was unemployed and had no money in his possession.

Japanese net user reactions were of a mixed bag:

“I’m not sure whether this is a funny or sad story…”
“Plastic food makers are sinful.”
“Would anyone really believe that he thought they were real?”
“If I were him I would have sat down to eat something and then said that I had no money and gotten arrested.”
“I can’t think of this as anything other than heartbreaking.”

With the pandemic creating a difficult working landscape in which companies have even taken to “mercy firing” their own employees, we can only hope that 2021 will usher in a better year for the number of unemployed people in Japan.

Source: Yahoo! Japan News via Hachima Kiko
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