Japanese police have arrested a man on suspicion of carrying out a series of toilet thefts in a case which left many baffled.
Ryusei Takada, 26, is suspected of stealing scores of toilets from houses in Funabashi City, Chiba Prefecture, while they were under construction.
Police arrested Takada, an office worker at one of the construction companies, after he sold a brand new toilet to a second-hand store in the city.
Officers believe Takada used his knowledge of the worker’s schedules to sneak on to sites and steal the toilets while they were off shift.
The first theft took place in October last year when builders discovered a toilet they had installed at a house they were constructing had vanished overnight.
Within days, another toilet had vanished from a different house that was also under construction.
The thefts continued for three months, with a total of 18 items – most of them toilets – pilfered from the construction sites, according to Sora News 24.
Police were unable to catch the thief, dubbed the ‘God of Toilets’ by local media, until a local second-hand shop said they had been sold a band new lavatory.
Officers were able to trace the man who sold the item, and arrested Takada who admitted stealing and selling the items to help pay for food and rent.
Officials believe that his knowledge of the construction worker’s work patterns allowed him to carry out the spate of thefts.
He told Japanese Fuji News Network: ‘I sold it to a thrift shop and stole it to cover my living expenses.’
The case is not the only toilet-related misdemeanor that has mystified Japan in recent years.
A couple from China were forced to post back a toilet seat they stole from a Japanese hotel in 2016.
The couple from Taizhou, eastern China, travelled on a group trip to Japan and were staying in the Tokyo Inn hotel in Nagoya when they decided to take the multi-function toilet seat with them.
Upon realising the toilet seat had been taken, the hotel called the group’s tour guide and reported the theft to the police.