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Japan police: Car theft ring targeted Tokyo, 10 prefectures

A car theft ring stole at least 91 vehicles from Tokyo and 10 prefectures over the past two years
A car theft ring stole at least 91 vehicles from Tokyo and 10 prefectures over the past two years (Nippon News Network)

TOKYO (TR) – Multiple law enforcement divisions have busted a car theft ring that stole more than 90 vehicles in the Kanto and Tohoku areas, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Feb. 2).

Police in Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki and four other prefectures have arrested Yoshihiro Osato, 46, Takayuki Suzuki, 43, and one other person, all of whom are residents of Koga City, Chiba Prefecture, over the theft of 91 vehicles in 84 incidents over the past two years in Tokyo and 10 nearby prefectures. The total value of lost property is estimated at 2.38 million yen.

All of the suspects have admitted to the allegations, telling police they committed the crimes for entertainment living expenses.

According to police, Osato was the ringleader. The thefts were performed to resell the vehicles, which included passenger vehicles, dump trucks and cranes. The vehicles were resold for between 400,000 yen and 550,000 yen.

The suspects worked late at night, when no pedestrians were around. Typical thefts involved breaking the vehicle’s ignition lock and wiring a cord to the engine to start it.

In one case, the suspects allegedly stole a passenger vehicle valued at 390,000 yen from a used-car lot in Noda City, Chiba on June 27 of last year.

According to TV Asahi (Feb. 2), police also seized a number of forged license plates, which are believed to have been placed on the stolen vehicles to evade detection.

Police investigating the suspects for possible participation in other crimes.