A man stole the whiskey bottles while the home owner was out of the country. Photo: Akio Kon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A Japanese man was arrested on Monday for stealing 170 bottles of luxury Japanese whiskey from a former client’s home, with the stolen goods worth about 7.7 million yen ($66,706). Akito Kodama, a 48-year-old home renovator in southern Japan’s Fukuoka prefecture, reportedly stole alcohol from the client’s home while he was abroad from March 2020 to April 2021. The victim—a company owner in the same prefecture—realized his liquor was missing when he returned to Japan and checked his whiskey cabinet. Some expensive flasks stored inside boxes were replaced by bottles of carbonated water.
Many of the bottles contained high-end whiskey, with the most expensive stolen item worth 37,000 yen ($3,207), a spokesperson from Sawara police station in Fukuoka Prefecture told VICE World News. Some bottles can go for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The police received a complaint from the home owner, who wasn’t named, on April 4. It took several months to identify the suspect, given there were many people going in and out of the victim’s house at the time, the spokesperson said. “But in interviews with the victim’s subordinate, who was looking after his boss’ house while he was away, we learned that the suspect suddenly disappeared from the job,” he told VICE World News. The police then investigated online liquor retailers and stores in a wide vicinity to see if bottles were sold under the suspect’s name. Sure enough, there were. “If you steal alcohol and don't get money for it, it’s pointless. Well, unless you like drinking, then maybe you can drink it all,” the spokesperson said. The sold whiskey bottles also matched the ones missing from the victim’s home, which he kept close track of. When the victim first reported this crime to the police, the spokesperson said he was suspicious the man could be lying about all the stolen bottles of whiskey. “He could’ve had an ulterior motive, maybe all the missing bottles weren’t stolen,” he said. That’s why the crime had to be further investigated, the spokesperson said. The missing bottles of Japanese whiskey haven’t been returned to the victim, he added.Follow Hanako Montgomery on Twitter and Instagram.