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Ehime: Police still hunting for escaped convict

Tatsuma Hirao
Tatsuma Hirao (Twitter)

EHIME (TR) – Ehime Prefectural Police are still hunting for a 27-year-old man who escaped from a special prison in Imabari City over the weekend, reports TV Asahi (Apr. 11).

At around 6:00 p.m. on April 8, Tatsuma Hirao escaped from the Oi Shipyard at Matsuyama Prison, according to police. An examination of security camera footage showed him fleeing the premises, which does not have a fence.

About one hour later, an employee at the prison alerted police after Hirao was found missing from his cell. Police believe he escaped through an unlocked window on the first floor of the prison.

Police believe that Hirao then stole a vehicle from a house near the prison and drove in the direction of Hiroshima Prefecture. At around 8:30 p.m., the vehicle was found abandoned in Onomichi City, Hiroshima.

As well, Hiroshima Prefectural Police have received information of six thefts that have taken place on Mukaishima island, which includes Onomichi, between April 8 and 10.

With a slim build, Hirao stands about 173 centimeters tall. He has short black hair. At the time of his disappearance, he was wearing a black sweatshirt, pants and white athletic shoes, police said.

Opened in 1961

Last December, Hirao entered Matsuyama Prison after being convicted of theft. The institution is one of four institutions in the nation that does not have a perimeter fence. Since opening in 1961, the prison has seen 19 other escapes, according to the Ministry of Justice.

As of 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, police had 330 officers hunting for the convict.