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Ex-Yomiuri Giants’ minor league outfielder suspected in theft of equipment

Takahiro Kakizawa
Takahiro Kakizawa (Twitter)
KANAGAWA (TR) – Kanagawa Prefectural Police have arrested a former minor league outfielder for the Yomiuri Giants who is suspected in the theft of baseball equipment, reports the Asahi Shimbun (July 8).

At around 7:00 p.m. on June 21, Takahiro Kakizawa, 23, allegedly took a uniform jersey from a second-team player — valued at around 20,000 yen — from a locker room at the team’s facility in Tama Ward, Kawasaki City, according to the Tama Police Station.

Kakizawa, who has been accused of theft, admits to the allegations. “I was troubled by living expenses,” police quoted the suspect, who was apprehended based on security camera footage.

According to the Central League club, Kakizawa is believed to have stolen a total of 110 items, including a bat belonging to slugger Shinnosuke Abe, a glove from pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano and spikes belonging to Dai-Kang Yang, between early May and late June.

The items are valued at a total of around 1 million yen. The suspect sold them to used-goods stores in Tokyo, the club said.

The Giants terminated the suspect’s contract on July 7. The day before, the club lodged a complaint with police.

In 2013, Kakizawa joined the Rakuten Eagles of the Pacific League. Three years later, the Eagles traded the outfielder to the Giants. He was never promoted to the first team of either Nippon Professional Baseball club.

“We would like to offer an apology for having disappointed the fans with the arrest of one of our former players,” the Giants said in a statement. “We will endeavor to provide guidance and education to our players more thoroughly than ever.”