TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police are hunting for three men seen at the apartment of an elderly woman in Koto Ward whose corpse was found inside on Thursday. Police suspect the trio was behind two similar incidents earlier this year, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 1).
At just past 1:55 p.m., a person visiting the residence for cleaning tipped off police after finding the body of Kuniko Kato, 80, lying face-up inside the third-floor residence, located in the Toyo area.
Officers arriving at the scene found the mouth of Kato covered in adhesive tape and her limbs bound. As well, her body exhibited signs of external wounds. The entrance of the residence was not locked, and the interior had been ransacked.
Police plan to use the results of an autopsy scheduled for Friday to determine the cause of death.
At around 10:30 a.m. that same day, a friend met Kato at her residence. Security camera footage shows three men in black hoods and masks entering the apartment building about 30 minutes later.
They are shown exiting the apartment building and entering a gray passenger vehicle used to flee the scene at around 11:30 a.m.
During that 30-minute period, police suspect that the three men fatally assaulted Kato before fleeing.
Two other incidents
Police are investigating whether the case is related to two other robberies from earlier this year.
On February 1, persons posing as police officers rang the door bell at a residence of an elderly couple in Hatsudai, Shibuya Ward. After being let inside by the woman, they bound the limbs of her and her husband and snatched 4 million yen in cash from inside.
On January 11, three men, all with their faces covered, burst into a residence in the Hatsudai area of Shibuya and tied up an elderly couple. They then stole about 20 million yen in cash and jewels before fleeing.
Based on information collected at the three crime scenes, police believe that the same vehicle was used to flee.
In the cases that took place in Shibuya, the victims received telephone calls from persons posing as their relatives prior to the robberies. The callers made inquiries about the couples’ addresses and cash on hand.
TV Asahi (Mar. 1) reports that police have learned that Kato received such a suspicious call last month in which the caller inquired about money she had available.