PHOTO: Koban police boxes are outposts all over cities that make it very convenient to report crimes on the fly or turn in lost items

The old adage “crime doesn’t pay” is often used to express how the risk of committing crime will usually outweigh the benefits in the long run. But sometimes its meaning is more literal, like it was on the afternoon of 18 March.

At around 2 p.m. a man in his 50s and woman in her 60s entered a real estate agency in Koto, Tokyo and inquired about purchasing a condominium located nearby. They told the agent they wanted to see how it looked inside, so she invited them to take a quick tour.

The three went over to the building and entered the room. After a quick look around, the man suddenly pulled out a box cutter and demanded, “Hand over the money!”

The agent gave them her wallet and they ran away. Immediately afterward, she hurried to the nearest police box to report the mugging and the stolen wallet which contained a whopping 200 yen (US$1.84).