Beef thieves allegedly packed $100's worth of coveted Japanese Wagyu beef inside a purse, ran from Berkeley store

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Sunday, May 26, 2019
Thieves accused of stealing $100's worth of Japanese Wagyu beef from Berkeley store
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The owner of the Tokyo Fish Market caught one of the suspects stuffing the beef inside a purse - Beef that can sell for $89.99 a pound.

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Shoplifters in Berkeley allegedly stole hundreds of dollars' worth of high-quality Japanese beef.

The owner of the Tokyo Fish Market caught one of the suspects stuffing the beef inside a purse.

Looking around and moving fast these alleged thieves were was caught stealing around $300 dollars' worth of pristine Japanese beef, also known as Wagyu.

The Japanese A5 Wagyu is hard to come by and the owner of Berkeley's Tokyo Fish Market believes the alleged thieves knew this.

"This piece of meat right here is $89.99 a pound," said Guy Crims from The Butcher Shop in San Francisco.

The owner of Tokyo's Fish Market said his employees confronted the alleged thieves, but they denied the allegations. Minutes later they were caught on camera running out of the store and handing off the purse with the beef to a third person.

The store owner who did not want to be identified said he filed a police report and confirmed other thieves also tried to steal Wagyu beef this week but left empty-handed.

"He ordered like $250 worth of stuff and then we gave him that and ice and it was easy to spot it because it was pretty big. 5-10 minutes later someone else was holding it," said Tokyo's Fish Market

The Butcher Shop in San Francisco is the largest retailer of Japanese A5 Wagyu in the Western Hemisphere. Guy Crims is the managing partner of the coveted beef shop and says this type of beef is like fine wine.

"The reason why is so expensive is because it's imported over from Japan. It's flown into the United States and the amount of production is very low. This particular type of Wagyu is only about 100 animals who are sold for export every year," said Crims.

After this incident, Tokyo's Fish Market changed its policy and now customers have to pay for the beef before picking it up from the deli. Some employees believe the thieves might have not even enjoyed the beef the right way.

"I mean the only thing is that if they didn't bring ice it probably melt it by the time they ran away with it," said Wong.