OKAYAMA (TR) – Okayama Prefectural Police have arrested three persons, including two minors, over the alleged attempted theft of cash from ATM machine in flood-hit Takahashi City, reports NHK (July 11).
Between Monday night and the following morning, Kazufumi Sugimoto, a 22-year-old employee in the construction industry, and two boys, both 19, crept into a closed convenience store. They then used a metal tool to smash open the ATM machine in an attempt to steal cash from its inside.
Sugimoto, who has been accused of causing property damage and attempted theft, denies the allegations. “The facts are different,” the suspect was quoted by police. Both boys admit to the allegations, police said.
After being tipped off by a security firm, police analyzed surveillance camera footage taken inside the store. The suspects were arrested on Tuesday.
At the time of the incident, the store was closed due to damage caused by record flooding in the area. Since last week, intense rains have ravaged western Japan, particularly Okayama and Hiroshima prefectures. As of Wednesday, a total of 156 people have been confirmed dead in 12 prefectures. In seven prefectures, 60 people are missing, according to Kyodo News (July 11).
Okayama police said that they are upping patrols in disaster-hit areas. They are also calling on local residents to implement crime-prevention measures.