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Hapless bandits beaten off by store staff wielding ‘sasumata’ pole

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested two of three would-be robbers who entered a jewelry store near Ueno Station on Sunday evening and got more than they bargained for in the form of a large staff member wielding a sasumata pole, reports TBS News (Nov. 28).

Such a pole is a two-pronged and used to catch criminals or animals, adapted from a samurai-era weapon.

Wearing bike helmets, the trio went into the store at 6.40 p.m. and smashed display cases with a metal bar in an attempt to steal jewelry and other valuables. However, with their botched banditry captured on video by a passerby, the hapless threesome made a speedy exit pursued by the sasumata-wielding guardian of the store’s treasures.

After kicking over one of the bikes the robbers had arrived on, the heavily-set staff member swung at the already rapidly retreating miscreants. Another man who emerged from the store kicked over the other bike, while his coworker repeatedly struck the first motorbike with the pole.

A number of precious metal and jewelry shops are located nearby and the owner of one reported noticing suspicious behavior by young men on two bikes in the days before the attempted heist. Other stores in the area have previously been targeted by thieves, according to the owner.

On Monday night, two of the robbers, both aged 18, surrendered to police in Saitama Prefecture. Police are seeking the whereabouts of the third member of the gang on suspicion of robbery.