NAGAOKAKYO, Kyoto -- Foxes allegedly stole about 40 pairs of sandals from local residents' homes here and stashed the shoes in the backyard of a nearby empty house, according to police.
The Mukomachi Police Station received 15 damage reports stating that sandals had been stolen from eight households here from May 10 to 19. Five police officers found about 40 pairs of sandals scattered around a burrow and spotted two foxes in the backyard of an empty house after a six-hour stakeout that started at around 12 a.m. on May 20.
The empty house is in a residential area about 800 meters northwest from Nagaokakyo City Hall.
A 36-year-old housewife who had had her sandals pilfered commented, "I can't believe that foxes stole my sandals." In response to the incidents, the police station sent local residents leaflets advising them not to leave their shoes outdoors.
Commenting on the thefts, Naoki Yamashita, chief of Kyoto City Zoo, which raises foxes, said, "The two foxes that the police officers spotted could have been building a burrow to breed and collected the sandals out of their instinct to stock up on food and other items."
(Japanese original by Hajime Nakatsugawa, Kyoto Bureau)