Earlier this month, Tokyo Metropolitan Police apprehended a purse-snatching team believed to have been involved in dozens of robberies in the metropolis since August.
On September 12, officers arrested a 16-year-old runaway girl on theft charges and Yoshiyo Takahashi, 25, for the abduction of a minor.
According to Shukan Jitsuwa (Oct. 9), Takahashi instructed the girl in how to carry out the crimes.
“The police used testimony of victims and surveillance camera footage to deduce that the crimes were carried out by a young girl with long hair riding a bicycle,” says a local news reporter. “They were put on a nationwide wanted list. As a result, the girl and the instructor were spotted together in Wakayama Prefecture.”
The girl, a resident of Tokyo’s Adachi Ward, ran away from home on August 1. Two days later, the family contacted police to report her disappearance.
All told, the 16-year-old is believed to have followed the instructions of Takahashi in committing more than 30 crimes. On August 21, the girl, riding a bicycle, swooped in behind a 43-year-old woman walking on a street in Sendagi, Bunkyo Ward and stole her purse, which contained 20,000 yen in cash.
“Takahashi met the girl on the Internet,” says the same reporter. “In the surveillance footage of the crimes, he is always seen providing instructions to her.”
The robberies are believed to have netted the pair a rather modest total of 200,000 yen. After her apprehension, the girl told police that she was irritated that the risk outweighed the reward.
An investigator informs the magazine that the initial hypothesis was that the perpetrator was an adult female. However, not only was the criminal a teenager but also the victim of manipulation at the hands of an older man.
“For such a daring modus operandi, the curtain fell too quickly,” says the investigator.
How they wound up in Wakayama is likely another story, says Shukan Jitsuwa. (A.T.)
Source: “Iedeshojo wo tsukatta hittakuri taiho,” Shukan Jitsuwa (Oct. 9, page 202)