Pillar of the community caught with five lines of the white stuff.

It’s a tale as old as time: a person rises up the ranks of an organization or society, only to succumb to the hubris that comes with such ascension. It is a fate that befell many historic figures from Julius Caesar to Kanye West and now it has claimed Fukaya Station Chief Takashi Tanaka of the Saitama Prefectural Police.

On 3 June, Chief Tanaka was handed down a one-month suspension after he was caught stealing not one, but five rolls of toilet paper. However, having been caught white-handed and at the age of 60, he decided to take early retirement the same day.

According to the rest of the police, on 29 May the chief was spending his day off getting plastered at his home in Konosu City. That evening he was drinking some more in the parking lot of a convenience store, when he began experiencing abdominal discomfort from the excessive alcohol and an underlying medical condition. He then headed to the public toilet of a commercial facility near JR Konosu Station.

▼ Although not reported by name, the victim was most likely the Konosu Shopping Mall

While in the stall he found extra rolls of toilet paper, placed there by staff as a reserve supply. Concerned that his tummy might act up during the train ride home, Chief Tanaka commandeered five rolls and left the restroom.

However, a concerned shopper spotted the drunk man stealing TP and alerted mall security who then called the police, reporting: “We have a man with toilet paper in custody.” In the ensuing embarrassment the chief was disciplined for quite possibly the pettiest of thefts, and criminal charges are likely to be filed.

▼ As our own traumatized reporter can attest, stealing TP is not a victimless crime

It’s a tragic fall from grace almost Shakespearean in nature, at least it would be if people had toilet paper back then rather than wiping with sand or corncobs. And while you contemplate that bit of historical trivia, here’s what people had to say about the news online.

“He will never live this down. Every time he enters the room it’s like ‘Look there’s Chief Toilet Paper!'”
“He probably spent years building that career, and just flushed it all for some toilet paper.”
“Maybe deep down he wanted to quit his job and was looking for an excuse.”
“Retirement by toilet paper.”
“I’m not going to judge. I’ve been there too, but that’s some world-class diarrhea if you need five rolls!”
“However you want to spend your holiday is your business, but buy your own toilet paper like the rest of us!”
“Not a bad way to get an early retirement with pension.”

Many comments speculated that the sheer amount of TP stolen was highly suspicious and than he was possibly deliberately trying to get an early retirement. However, given Tanaka’s highly intoxicated state, it’s unlikely he could concoct such a cunning plan. Considering his testimony, it would seem more likely such a large quantity of paper was intended for pure absorptive damage control in the event the police chief pooped his pants on the train.

But ultimately his true motive is irrelevant because the fact remains that this former officer of the law took something that didn’t belong to him. The saddest part is that this crime probably could have been prevented had the mall just put a curse on its supply of toilet paper like some other business have done to prevent theft.

Source: Asahi Shimbun, NHK
Top image: Pakutaso
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