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Tokyo cops crack down on Yamanote pickpockets

TOKYO (TR) – As a part of a crackdown on pickpockets targeting commuters on the JR Yamanote Line, police earlier this week arrested a 71-year-old man who carried out such a theft to fund a gambling habit, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Dec. 25).

At around 6:45 a.m. on Sunday, Kimitoshi Hirose, of no known occupation, allegedly pulled a wallet containing 104,000 yen in cash from the pants pocket of a male company employee, 27, as he slept inside a carriage between Uguisudani and Ueno stations.

Hirose admits to the allegations. “I needed money to use for horse racing,” the suspect was quoted by police.

Kimitoshi Hirose
Kimitoshi Hirose (Twitter)

Later that same day, the Arima Kinen, a Grade 1 horse racing event, was held at the Nakayama Racecourse in Funabashi City, Chiba Prefecture. An officer on patrol apprehended Hirose after finding the stolen wallet concealed inside a horse racing newspaper in his possession.

This year, police have received 103 reports of thefts on the Yamanote Line in which the value of lost property totaled 2.9 million yen. In 76 of those cases, the victims were asleep inside a carriage. With the New Year holidays underway, police are upping patrols to combat such thefts.