OSAKA (TR) – Investigative sources with the Osaka Prefectural Police on Thursday revealed that a 30-year-old male fugitive who escaped from custody over the weekend is likely behind a number of purse-snatching incidents that have taken place across the prefecture, reports Fuji News Network (Aug. 16).
On the night of August 12, Junya Hida, 30, bolted from the Tondabayashi Police Station after a meeting. In making his escape, he is believed to have scaled a wall before stealing a red bicycle, which he pedaled north.
Police subsequently received reports of two bag-snatching incidents that took place in Habikino City and Osaka City’s Hirano Ward the following night. A third incident was reported in Osaka’s Higashisumiyoshi Ward on the night of August 14. In all of the cases, the perpetrator approached the victims while riding a minibike.
A minibike was reported stolen in Matsubara City early on August 13. Given that Hida has been accused of theft in the past, police suspect that he stole the minibike and committed the crimes.
In making his escape from the Tondabayashi Police Station on Sunday, it is believed that Hida smashed a hole in the acrylic plate that served as a partition between him and the lawyer he was meeting with at some point after their discussion ended at around 8:00 p.m.
At the time, there were about 20 officers on duty. However, none of them saw Hida flee, police said.
Since May 25, Hida has been accused of four crimes. In July, police arrested him for theft and the rape of a woman, aged in her 20s, in her residence in Osaka Prefecture.
On August 8, Osaka police accused of him of robbery resulting in injury. He is also suspected over an incident in which an investigative vehicle was set ablaze at the Habikino Police Station on May 2.
Hida, with a medium build, stands about 163 centimeters tall. He has dark hair. At the time of his escape, he was wearing a black (top) and gray (bottom) jogging suit.
On Friday, police released an illustration of a tattoo, featuring a rabbit, that Hida has on the calf of his left leg.
“We are trying to arrest him with all of our power,” said Koichi Hirota, the director-general of the Osaka Prefectural Police.