Osaka taxi driver suspected in theft of Suumo promotional balloons

Osaka police have arrested a man suspected in the theft of promotional balloons for real estate company Suumo
Osaka police have arrested a man suspected in the theft of promotional balloons for real estate company Suumo

OSAKA (TR) – Osaka Prefectural Police on Friday arrested a male taxi driver suspected in the theft of balloons featuring the mascot of real estate firm Suumo, reports the Sankei Shimbun (May 19).

At around 11 a.m. Masaru Tagaki, a 53-year-old resident of Highashi-Osaka City, allegedly stole one balloon worth 10,000 yen from an office of the firm in Osaka’s Chuo Ward.

Police found 16 Suumo balloons, each measuring 1.5 meters tall, and inflatables featuring mascots from other companies, such as Softbank’s Jiro Shirato dog and Risona Bank’s Risonyu character, in Tagaki’s vehicle and home.

Each Suumo balloon prominently includes a green bushy character. The suspect, who lives alone, had surrounded his bed with balloons, the Asahi Shimbun reported (May 19).

Tagaki, who has been charged with theft, admits to the charges. “Touching them makes me feel better,” the suspects was quoted by the Minami Police Station.

On the day of the theft, a 56-year-old male manager was at the office in spite of it being closed. Tagaki broke in by forcing the office’s automatic doors open before stealing the balloon, police said.

The manager reported the theft after witnessing Tagaki stashing the balloon in his trunk before fleeing the scene, police said.

Tagaki was identified based on security camera footage, police said, adding the agency suffered similar crimes in February and March.

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