School Principal Fired for Stealing Less Than 50 Cents of Coffee

( – A school principal in Japan was caught overfilling a cup of coffee at a convenience store, which led to not only his being fired, but also the loss of more than a hundred thousand dollars’ worth of pension benefits.

The incident occurred at a convenience store in city of Takasago, which is in the Hyogo Prefecture, in Honshu. The man was not named, but was reported as a 59-year-old male who served as a principal in one of Takasago’s junior high schools. The convenience store clerk said that he caught the man pour himself a large-size coffee in the store’s self-service coffee machine – even though he only paid for a regular sized cup. The clerk called police after seeing the man do it twice.

The man admitted to underpaying for his coffee and pouring extra, saying that he had committed the offense seven times through the year. Regular coffee at the convenience store costs 73 cents, while a large coffee costs around $1.20. The man said that he became emboldened to do so after accidentally overfilling the first time – and seemingly getting away with it.

He apologized for the petty crime, saying that he was “truly sorry” and only acted “on the impulse of the moment.”

The store and city prosecutors decided against pressing charges, but word of the incident reached the school and the Hyogo Prefectural Board of Education. The board decided to terminate the man as principal of the school for “gross misconduct unbecoming of an educational public servant.” The termination also stripped the man of his retirement pension of 20 million Japanese Yen, which amounts to roughly $133,000 USD.

While crime the crime rate is generally lower in Japan compared to the rest of the world, this is not the first time police have arrested someone for underpaying for self-service convenience store coffee. In 2021, a 60-year-old man in Kumamoto City was arrested for repeat offenses of dispensing $1.35 lattes into a cup meant only for 70-cent regular coffee.

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