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East Japan police thank 2 local convenience store workers for preventing fraud cases

Ami Nakamura, left, and Michiko Yanagita, who work at the Ministop Ryugasaki Kitakata branch, show their letters of gratitude in the city of Ryugasaki, Ibaraki Prefecture, on Jan. 27, 2022. (Mainichi/Shigemi Niwaki)

RYUGASAKI, Ibaraki -- Two convenience store workers in this east Japan city who prevented instances of phone fraud in just a span of 10 days have received letters of gratitude from the local police station on Jan. 26.

    Michiko Yanagita, 49, and Ami Nakamura, 36, work at Ministop's Ryugasaki Kitakata branch in the city's Kitakatamachi district. On Jan. 4, their suspicions were aroused when a man in his 60s came in and was about to buy 300,000-yen's (about $2,600) worth of electronic money. They asked him why, and subsequently reported the case to Ibaraki Prefectural Police's Ryugasaki Police Station.

    Just nine days later on Jan. 13, Nakamura made another fraud report to police after speaking with a man in his 70s who came to the store in a way that seemed odd.

    Investigations by police found that fake callers had instructed both men to go to the store, but the clerks prevented the fraud's completion.

    "I did an ordinary thing," Yanagita said. Nakamura, who also stopped a man in his 60s from falling victim to fraud in April 2021, said, "I'm glad I prevented them from losing money."

    Police station chief Yoshiaki Watanabe praised the pair, saying, "Their response while also busy at work prevented people falling victim to fraud."

    (Japanese original by Shigemi Niwaki, Tsuchiura Local Bureau)

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