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Aichi: (Not so high-speed) car chase ends in arrests after 4 hours

AICHI (TR) – Aichi Prefectural Police earlier this month arrested two men over the alleged theft of three vehicles following a pursuit that ended after more than four hours, reports Fuji News Network (Jan. 21).

At around 7:00 a.m. on January 18, Yutaka Watanabe, 45, and Yuzo Fujita, 46, worked together to allegedly steal a passenger vehicle on a road in Kiyosu City.

About one hour later, an officer on patrol spotted the suspects in the vehicle at an intersection in Kiyosu. Sensing the police presence, Watanabe left Fujita behind, taking custody of another passenger vehicle and headed toward Nagoya.

Watanabe drove the vehicle on an expressway, weaving in and out of traffic. At around noon, he changed vehicles again, stealing a van from the parking lot of a factory in nearby Kitanagoya City.

All told, a helicopter and 63 patrol cars engaged in the pursuit, which extended over a distance of 100 kilometers and included collisions with seven other vehicles.

Video coverage of the chase showed several police cars pursuing Watanabe as he cruised around in the van with the hatch open.

At at an interchange, the chase party lost track of Watanabe. At around 12:30 p.m., the van was found at the parking lot of a commercial center in Ichinomiya City. Watanabe was later apprehended at the residence of an acquaintance.

Both suspects were accused of theft. Watanabe admitted to the allegations. However, Fujita denied the charges, saying he did not “know anything” about the matter.

The urine of both suspects gave positive results for kakuseizai, or stimulant drugs. Watanabe later told police that he committed the theft to set aside money for the purchase of stimulant drugs.