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Suspects in rash of dental clinic burglaries used copycat approach

SAITAMA (TR) – Two men suspected of burglarizing more than 100 dental clinics in the Kanto region this year carried out the crimes after reading about previous capers in the news, police have revealed, reports Fuji News Network (Sept. 7).

Police had previously revealed that the suspects are Norio Osaka, 33, and a 26-year-old national of the Philippines who goes by the name Yusuke Takita.

On July 17, they are alleged to have broken into a clinic in Minuma Ward, Saitama City by smashing a window and stealing around 90,000 yen in cash.

In security camera footage shot at just past 2:00 a.m., two persons are shown climbing over a fence to enter the parking lot of the clinic. They try to pry open the clinic’s front door with a crowbar but fail.

After locating the window, they use the crowbar to smash it. One stands watch outside while the other goes inside to carry out the burglary.

The director of the clinic tells the network that the pair worked fast. “Just five minutes,” he says in referring to the footage. “Staff from our security company showed up in 10 minutes, but they were gone by then.”

Two men are suspected of breaking into a dental clinic in Saitama City in July (FNN)

Headquarters in hotel room

Assisted by security camera footage, police apprehended Osaka and Takita at a hotel room in Tokyo they were using as a hideout early on September 2. They had registered at the hotel under pseudonyms.

Police previously said that the suspects used several vehicles to carry out the crimes. “I thought we’d get caught if we used the same one,” one of the suspects said.

Between the end of April and July, the pair is suspected of carrying out a total of 25 such incidents in the prefecture in which the damage totals around 9 million yen.

In addition to Saitama City, they are believed to have targeted clinics in the cities of Kawaguchi, Koshigaya, Kasukabe, Soka and Misato.

Norio Osaka, left, and Yusuke Takita (Twitter)

“I thought that we could also commit similar crimes”

Police believe the two also worked outside of Saitama, targeting an additional 100 clinics in Chiba Prefecture and other locations.

Regarding why they targeted dental clinics, one suspect said, “I saw a report on the news about a dental clinic being broken into. So I thought that we could also commit similar crimes.”

The crimes, at least in Saitama, halted in August. One investigator says, “After seeing news reports about [the crimes in Saitama], they thought they would be arrested if they continued.”

The network finds it interesting that news outlets indirectly caused the crime spree to both start and stop, at least in Saitama.