Investigators: Rental car found in connection to Tokyo robbery-homicide

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Investigators are seen Sunday in front of the house where a robbery-homicide took place in Komae, Tokyo.

Police have found the rental car that was seen driving near the Tokyo home of the 90-year-old victim of a suspected robbery-homicide on the day of the woman’s murder, investigative sources said.

The car had been located Friday, the day after the murder of Kinuyo Oshio, in Tokyo’s Adachi Ward, and has been impounded, the sources said. It had been used by Rikuto Nagata, 21, occupation unknown of Kanazawa, who was arrested Saturday in a robbery-assault case that took place in Tokyo’s Nakano Ward in December.

The Metropolitan Police Department suspects that the same group was involved in both cases, and is investigating the role Nagata played in each.

According to investigators, two suspicious rental cars were captured on security cameras in the area of the Komae home on both the day before and the day of the murder. The vehicles are believed to have been rented out of rental car shops in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture.

One of the cars was found after the incident abandoned in a pay parking lot a few hundred meters to the east of the victim’s home. The MPD suspects that the criminal group used the other car for their getaway. The second car was found on Friday afternoon in Adachi Ward and impounded.

Nagata himself was in the vicinity of the car when it was found. He was arrested on suspicion of robbery resulting in injury for his involvement in a case in Kamitakada, Nakano Ward, in which a man in his 40s was assaulted at home and about ¥30 million in cash was stolen.

A smartphone seized from the second rental car contained data such as the place name “Komae City” and the time in social media messages sent prior to before Oshio’s murder. There also was a message saying, “I will contact you if someone doesn’t show up.” Police suspect that such exchanges may have been made in the planning of the robbery.

Nagata admitted to using the rental car, but said that the phone was not his, police said.

More arrests in Nakano case

On Tuesday, the MPD investigating the series of burglaries in the Kanto region arrested two men for their involvement in the Nakano case.

Arrested on charges of robbery resulting in injury and breaking-and-entering into a residence were Masaya Yamada, 22, of Kita Ward, Saitama, and Shoji Hasegawa, 26, of Koto Ward, Tokyo. Both have unknown occupations.