Osaka yakuza used Google Street View to plan string of thefts

Google Street View in Japan
Google Street View in Japan
OSAKA (TR) – Police from five administrative districts, including Osaka, on Thursday announced the arrest of an organized crime member who utilized a computer mapping application to assist in nearly 200 thefts of brand items, reports the Asahi Shimbun (Dec. 5).

Over a two-year period leading up to November of 2013, Katsushi Hayasaki, a 43-year-old member of a gang affiliated with the Yamaguchi-gumi, and three other suspects are alleged to have used Google Street View to evaluate suitable locations for the robbery of 197 clothing stores and offices in 17 prefectures in western and southern Japan.

The total value of the thefts is estimated at 152 million yen.

Google Street View is a mapping application that provides users with street-level panoramas of roads and highways of countries around the world, including Japan.

“In using Google Street View, I aimed at places away from main roads with few people,” police quoted Hayasaki, who committed the crimes to obtain money for living expenses.

The suspects are currently under prosecution for nine incidents, including the theft of bags and cars, with a total value of 4.16 million yen.

Hayasaki, a resident of Sakai City, came under scrutiny in December of last year after he stole two license plates inside a parking lot in Neyagawa CIty, Osaka.

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