Illustration for article titled To Catch a Game Thief

Late this spring in Kyoto, an 8-year-old kid left his gaming pouch in the restroom at his local supermarket. The pouch contained a portable game machine and some games. When he and his parents went looking for the pouch, it was already gone.


You've heard this story a million times. Someone leaves something behind, some asshole takes it. This story, however, has a happy—if not totally cool—ending. Thank fate for that.

By chance, the boy and his father went to a used game shop and purchased a used copy of one of the stolen games later that summer, reported Sponichi.


The original report doesn't specific the game hardware, but Japanese netizens are assuming it is a Nintendo portable.

When the second grader popped in the game, he noticed something odd: one of the game characters had exactly the same first and last name as he did.

The boy and his father had purchased one of the stolen games, which still contained the boy's save data and which was not wiped clean by the thief.

The used game shop was down the road from the supermarket where the games were stolen.


Realizing that they purchased their own game, the boy and his father contacted the police the next day. The police were eventually able to trace the seller of the stolen goods: a 50-year-old unemployed man. Yesterday, Kyoto police arrested him.

Crime is low in Japan, which is why it's not unusual to see people "saving" tables at shopping mall food courts by simply leaving their bags on them.


And when people do lose things, their lost items turn up. I've left a handful of umbrellas on the subway, and I've gotten all of them back. When people find lost items, they often either take it to a lost-and-found or leave it in a place where the owner can easily spot it (such as hanging it on a tree branch, folding it over a chair, whatever).

Even during this year's Tokyo Game Show, I left my MacBook plug behind, and I was able to recover it at TGS the following day.


Yet, there are assholes. There are those who fester in wretched hives of scum and villainy. Good to see something as simple as a game save brought one of them to justice.


Culture Smash is a daily dose of things topical, interesting and sometimes even awesome—game related and beyond.

(Top photo: Shizuo Kambayashi | AP)

You can contact Brian Ashcraft, the author of this post, at You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.

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