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Suspected shoe thief who used replacement pairs to cover crimes not prosecuted

AICHI (TR) – In the end, it was the perfect crime.

Prosecutors have announced the non-prosecution of a suspected thief of women’s shoes who replaced stolen footwear with similar pairs to cover the crimes, reports the Mainichi Shimbun (April 23).

During the investigation, police found about 20 pairs of women’s shoes in the residence of the suspect, 33-year-old Hiroaki Katsu.

However, some of the confirmed owners of the shoes declined to pursue charges in the case since they felt uncomfortable.

Aichi police found about 20 pairs of women’s shoes in the residence of the suspect (Twitter)

Police arrested Katsu, a company employee, on suspicion of theft on April 6. He was formally accused in at least one case.

On the morning of January 30, he allegedly stole a pair of pumps (valued at around 5,000 yen) that belonged to a music teacher, 23, from her studio in Nagoya’s Meito Ward. He also left behind an identical pair of pumps — the same style, color and size — in their place.

Katsu admitted to the allegations. “I did this other times,” he told police.

“I wanted to smell them”

In carrying out the crimes, Katsu patrolled the shoe racks at various locations, in Nagoya. After photographing the shoes, he would buy an identical pair online. Before making the switch, he ensured that the new pair were a bit broken in.

After the case emerged in the news, several women came forward to say that their shoes might have been taken by Katsu. However, they declined to continue with the investigation. “I have a bad feeling,” one said. “I don’t want this to get out.”

The music teacher also withdrew her claim.

“I like shoes worn by women,” Katsu also told police. “I wanted to smell them.”

Police were also unable to prove that the suspect had stalked the victims.

“Due to the nature of the case, it was difficult to get cooperation [from the victims],” an upper-level investigator said. “As long as the victims hold that view, it can’t be helped, but it’s a shame given [how far] the investigation [had progressed].”