Loneliness and tough economic times are hurting everyone, including the elderly Japanese, who are now turning to petty crime in increasing numbers:
One hour later, officers stopped a second suspect, an 80-year-old man. He had enough money to pay for all of his groceries, but security officers said he tried to leave the store without paying for medicine for an upset stomach.
"I'm so sorry," he told officers. "I live alone. My wife is in the hospital." [...]
Petty crimes by the elderly are a worse problem than thievin' teens:
On Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, more elderly than teenagers -- by a 3 to 2 ratio -- were arrested in 2006, police said.
Despite the arrest numbers, prosecutions of the elderly in a culture that holds them in high regard are rare. Stores often don't even report the crime to police, according to security experts.
The 80-year-old man who stole the stomach medicine was eventually led to his bicycle by store security. The security officer helped the man with his groceries and bowed in respect, hoping the elderly man had learned his lesson and would return as a good customer.
CNN has the story: Link - Thanks Tiffany!