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Tokyo: Trio nabbed for murder-robbery of woman; suspected in 2 other cases

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested three men for robbing and killing an elderly woman in Koto Ward last month. Police suspect the trio was behind two similar incidents earlier this year, reports NHK (Mar. 14).

On February 28, police found the body of Kuniko Kato, 80, inside the third-floor residence, located in the Toyo area. She was lying face-up with her mouth covered in adhesive tape and her limbs bound. The results of an autopsy revealed the cause of death to be suffocation, police said.

On Wednesday, police arrested Tatsumi Komatsuzono, a 27-year-old employee in the construction industry, Hiroki Sue, 22, and Yuta Sakai, 22, each of no known occupation, on suspicion of murder-robbery.

Police allege that the suspects intruded into the residence, killed Kato and stole a terminal for her intercom before fleeing. All three suspects deny the allegations, police said.

An examination of security camera footage showed three men in black hoods and masks entering the apartment building at around 11:00 on the day Kato’s body was found. They are shown leaving in a gray passenger vehicle at approximately 11:30 a.m. Police suspect that the crime took place during that 30-minute period.

Tatsumi Komatsuzono
Tatsumi Komatsuzono (left), Hiroki Sue (center) and Yuta Sakai (Twitter)

Other cases in Shibuya Ward

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 another Hatsudai residence 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.

Police previously said that Kato received such a suspicious call last month in which the caller inquired about money she had available.