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Suspect linked to theft of Japan local gov't hard drives resold over 3,900 storage devices online

President Shoichi Sakaki, center, and other Broadlink Co. officials bow in apology over its former employee's theft and resale of hard disk drives, during a press conference in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on Dec. 9, 2019. (Mainichi/Kimi Takeuchi)

TOKYO -- A man under arrest in connection with the theft and resale of hard disk drives in a server rented by the Kanagawa Prefectural Government had resold online a total of 3,904 storage devices since he joined an information equipment recycling company, it has been announced.

Officials of Broadlink Co. revealed during a press conference held in the capital on Dec. 9 that its former employee, Yuichi Takahashi, 51, had successfully resold 3,904 storage devices at online auctions since he entered the Tokyo-based firm in February 2016.

"We're aware that there was a problem with our management system," President Shoichi Sakaki of the firm said as he apologized over the incident. He also hinted at his intention to step down as president after taking preventative measures.

Takahashi was arrested on Dec. 6 for allegedly stealing hard drives from the firm, after suspicions emerged that he stole and resold hard drives in a server rented by the Kanagawa Prefectural Government, causing leakages of personal and other data. Broadlink had been commissioned to delete data in the server after the lease expired.

The 3,904 storage devices he sold were: 1,286 hard drives, 1,224 solid state drives (SSD), 742 USB flash memory sticks, 558 secure digital (SD) cards, 75 smartphones and 19 tablets.

Together with electronic device cables and other products, the number of items Takahashi put up for auction and resold totals 7,844. He reportedly used the Yahoo! Auctions site and flea market app Mercari for the sales.

"I stole (hard drives and other items) almost every day as it was easy to do so," Takahashi was quoted as telling investigators with the Metropolitan Police Department.

Broadlink said it will try to identify if the items sold online had been stolen from the company by checking their serial numbers.

(Japanese original by Kazuki Mogami, City News Department)

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