High-ranking yakuza officer arrested for stealing Pokemon cards


Tokyo police arrested a yakuza lieutenant for his role in a December 2022 office break-in that netted stolen Pokemon cards.

Key points:

  • Keita Saito, a 39-year-old yakuza lieutenant, admitted to stealing items that include 25 Pokemon cards.

  • The break-in occurred in Tokyo's Saitama Prefecture on Dec. 29, 2022, with the total value of stolen goods amounting to 252,000 yen ($1,617).

  • Pokemon cards can get very expensive, especially those that happen to be rare.

The details:

  • Saito is a member of the Takinogawa group within the Sumiyoshi-kai, Japan's second-largest yakuza syndicate.

  • Tokyo Metropolitan Police also arrested Saito’s alleged accomplice, 56-year-old Hidefumi Kuboshita, who is accused of planning the robbery.

  • Kuboshita, whose employment and yakuza ties remain unclear, has denied involvement.

  • The authorities are still searching for the other two suspects, who were reportedly recruited online.

  • Pokemon's popularity, coupled with the high resale value of certain cards, has created a lucrative target for thieves.

  • Some social media users joked about the yakuza's "unorthodox" choice of loot, while others expressed concern about the organization potentially entering the stolen Pokemon card market.

  • Over time, Pokemon trading cards can get very expensive, especially those that are rare. The most valuable to date is the Pikachu Illustrator card, which was released in 1998 and was sold at auction for $5.275 million in July 2021.


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