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Chiba: Quick-thinking cop foils swindle of elderly woman

Masato Tanaka
Masato Tanaka (Twitter)

CHIBA (TR) – A quick-thinking police officer played a key role in the apprehension of a 22-year-old man as he attempted to swindle an elderly woman in Ichikawa City last week, reports TBS News (Apr. 20).

At around 4:45 p.m. on April 19, Kazuo Saito, a resident of Kasukabe City, Saitama Prefecture, appeared at a parking lot near Tokyo Metro’s Gyotoku Station to receive 2 million yen in cash inside an evelope from the woman, a 78-year-old resident of Ichikawa.

Prior to the meeting, the woman had been told on the telephone by a person pretending to be her grandson that he was in financial distress, a common element in a scam known as ore ore sagi, or “it’s me” fraud.

While the transaction proceeded, Masato Tanaka, the chief of the Gyotoku Police Station, approached the pair. “Hey, what are you doing?” he said to Saito, who responded, “What?” The officer then said, “I’m with the police.”

Tanaka alerted other officers to the scene. Saito was subsequently accused of attempted fraud.

Tanaka, who until February was the head of an anti-organized crime division at the station, later said that the age difference between the two persons and the style of clothing of the suspect raised suspicions. “For a young man to be wearing a suit, it seemed out of the ordinary,” Tanaka was quoted by the network.