HOKKAIDO (TR) – A police chase in Sapporo on Wednesday ended in a fiery crash that left two suspected male members of a gang of thieves dead and another seriously, reports the Asahi Shimbun (Nov. 1).
At around 1:50 a.m., a vehicle carrying the three persons burst into flames after crashing through a road sign and into a row of trees in Kita Ward, according to Hokkaido Prefectural Police.
Two persons in the driver’s and passenger seats were killed in the crash. A third person, believed to be a boy, sustained serious injuries, including bone fractures to the head and legs, police said.
Prior to the incident, the vehicle was being chased by a patrol car. The pursuit began after officers responded a report of a break-in at a supermarket.
Upon arrival at the store, officers spotted the vehicle in the parking lot with a safe loaded into its hatchback. After ordering it to halt, the vehicle fled.
After 3.5 kilometers, the vehicle turned around. In attempting to follow, the patrol car to suffer a tire puncture. The patrol car continued for another 200 meters before halting due to the puncture. Another patrol took up the chase from that point for another 1.3 kilometers before the vehicle crashed.
During the accident, two safes fell out of the hatchback. Police believe the safes were stolen from the market where the chase started and another store located about 1.5 kilometers away.
Four other cases in October
Police are investigating whether the same thieves were behind the theft of safes containing 6 million yen from four offices in nearby Ishikari City and the town of Tobetsu on October 22 and 23.
Police plan to question the boy about the break-ins after he recovers from his injuries in the hospital.