33-year-old Hiroaki Katsu, an office worker from Nagakute City in Aichi, was arrested on the theft charges. According to investigators, the man had about 20 pairs of women’s shoes in his house, ranging in style from boots to loafers, flats, and pumps.
The arrest came after Katsu was discovered to be the culprit that swapped out a pair of shoes valued at about 5,000 yen (US$45.53) from a 23-year-old female instructor at a music school in Nagoya. The incident occurred at about 10:50 a.m. on January 30, but the instructor only noticed something strange when she put her shoes on before heading home (it’s not unusual for people in Japan to change into slippers while at their workplace). The shoes she had worn to work were thoroughly broken in, so she thought it was strange that at the end of the day “her shoes” looked and felt like new.
The woman contacted the police, suspecting that her shoes had been switched out. After an investigation led them to Katsu, police arrested the man on April 6, whereupon he confessed to the crime. “It’s not a mistake,” he told authorities. Katsu and the instructor had never actually met before he stole her shoes.
Though he was initially arrested for the theft of one woman’s shoes, he was found with a collection of shoes that seemed to belong to several different women. When asked, he confessed to stealing those shoes, too.
“I wanted to smell the scent of women’s shoes,” he admitted.
Police consider the crimes to be premeditated, as Katsu had taken care to replace each pair of shoes with a brand new pair in the same brand, style, size, and color. They are currently investigating whether additional charges should be placed against him.