Suspect clearly knew his fish and just how to catch them.

At approximately 2:30 a.m. on 26 March in Nakama City, Fukuoka Prefecture, a man smashed through the fence of a yet-to-be-opened shop, and armed with two lights and a nylon net robbed the establishment of roughly 1.1 million yen (US$9,000) in merchandise.

The merchandise in question? None other than the Japanese rice fish, also known as the “medaka.”

Similar in appearance to a guppy, these fish are renowned for their durability and ability to procreate under even the harshest circumstances. In fact, this fish is the first known vertebrate to have successfully mated in orbit.

Extraterrestrial erotic experimentation aside, these fish also make ideal pets, and depending on the breed they can also sell for high prices. In this case, the victim had been breeding a stock of Japanese rice fish so that on 31 March he could open a store specializing in them called Medaka Ikka or “House of Medaka” in English.

However, what was meant to be a joyous embarkation on a new business turned sour when the victim’s open-air stock was raided in the middle of the night. Luckily, a security camera caught the bandit in action as he managed to impressively scoop up 300 fish in about five minutes.

▼ A news report on the theft.

The owner of the shop was understandably heartbroken after having raised these fish to the best of his ability to service the local Japanese rice fish enthusiast community.

“I think of it more as a kidnapping than a theft,” he told media. “I’m more sad than angry. Because they were stolen in the middle of the night, I can’t sleep at night anymore.”

These particular Japanese rice fish would have sold for about 1,500 to 5,000 yen ($13 to $45) apiece, so this suspect’s knowledge of the fish’s market value and his skill with a net would suggest the work of a pro.

Concerned netizens who watched the news found themselves wondering why the media bothered to censor the face of such a dangerously smooth criminal at large.

“Why did they cover his face? Showing it would not only help catch him, but maybe help prevent future thefts.”
“Is the guy a minor of something?”
“Did he rob the place with a blue dot on his face?”
“And what’s with the choice of background music?”
“Do you think he’s planning on eating them?”
“Show his face! Let’s bring these boys home!”
“Stupid mass media more worried about covering their butts than catching a fish robber.”
“I feel really bad for the owner. That’s terrible.”

Hopefully justice can be served soon, as police are currently using the camera footage to try and retrace the suspect’s steps. We can only assume that they will also shake down all the usual lowlifes and reprobates who hang out in the underground fish black market… or is it “black fish market?” 

Either way, we also can’t rule out yakuza involvement either, as strange as it may seem. Organized crime has been branching out into theft of marine biology much more brazenly in recent years.

In the meantime, we’d like to remind all fish owners and breeders in Japan that this suspect is still at large. Be sure to keep your fish safely locked up, and above all else, take this opportunity to tell them you love them before it’s too late.

Source: FNN Prime Online
Top image: Wikipedia/Seotaro 
Insert image: Wikipedia/Seotaro
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