A man who stole 15 kilograms of coins, valued at 6,100 yuan (8), has been sentenced to seven months behind bars.
Jing'an District People's Court said the defendant surnamed Zhang was a jobless gambler from Anhui Province.
To pay off debts, he came up the idea of stealing from a steamed bun store where his brother worked, targeting an iron box used to store earnings. At about 1am on March 5, Zhang sneaked into the store and managed to unlock the box and found coins, valued at 1 yuan or 0.5 yuan, kept in dozens of plastic bags, each of which contained coins worth a total of 100 or 200 yuan. Zhang found the bags too heavy to be stolen in their entirety but did manage to take away 31 bags, containing coins worth 6,100 yuan.
The shopkeeper discovered the theft the following night, and after checking monitoring videos, found the thief was the brother of one of his workers. Police were alerted and Zhang was soon caught in an Internet cafe in Shanghai.
Zhang said he had exchanged the money in banks and wet markets in Shanghai's neighboring city of Kunshan. He used 4,000 yuan to pay off his debts and the rest to support his gambling habit — and lost again, he said.