• Crime & Courts

Suspects in Japan Robberies Arrested Over Thefts from Elderly

Yomiuri Shimbun file photos
Toshiya Fujita, left, and Kiyoto Imamura arrive at Narita Airport.

Two suspected leaders of a group of robbers were arrested Tuesday over the theft of cash cards from senior citizens.

Kiyoto Imamura, 38, and Toshiya Fujita, 38, were arrested by the Metropolitan Police Department on charges of theft related to fraud. They are suspected of stealing cash cards from elderly women and withdrawing millions of yen between April and November 2019.

The two men were earlier deported to Japan from the Philippines, to be arrested on different charges of theft.

Investigators told The Yomiuri Shimbun that money was deposited in Imamura’s account at a Hokkaido bank several times between April and June 2022. The money was sent by Yuki Miyazawa, 22, who was arrested by the Kyoto prefectural police on Feb. 7 over the theft of 41 luxury watches worth about ¥69 million from a store in Kyoto in May 2022.

Miyazawa, from Tokyo’s Itabashi Ward, was also arrested by the MPD in June 2022 on suspicion of posing as a police officer in April of that year and stealing a cash card from the home of an elderly person in Tokyo. He was later indicted for theft.

Miyazawa had received instructions from a person or persons using the alias “Luffy,” in the crimes in Kyoto and Tokyo. The MPD believes that Luffy oversaw both the robberies and fraud.

The MPD also will arrest Yuki Watanabe, 38, and Tomonobu Kojima, 45 — who were likewise deported from the Philippines to be arrested in Japan — on suspicion of involvement in fraud. It is investigating their connection with a string of robbery cases nationwide.

Three 19-yr-olds arrested

The MPD on Tuesday arrested three 19-year-olds — who had already been arrested on suspicion of theft and other charges involving a theft at a jewelry shop in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward in December — in connection with another crime in January in Kita Ward, Tokyo.

The police suspect they were also involved in three other robberies that took place on Jan. 12-14 in Saitama’s Nishi Ward and in Ryugasaki and Tsukuba, both in Ibaraki Prefecture.

According to a police announcement, the three were arrested Tuesday on charges including robbery and causing bodily harm. They are alleged to have broken into a condominium in Kita Ward in the early morning of Jan. 7, where they threatened a male resident in his 20s and a female acquaintance of his, saying: “Give us money. You must have about ¥10 million or so here.”

They beat the man’s head and face with a crowbar, breaking a bone in his face, and stole about ¥1 million in cash, clothing and a car.

The three were arrested in January for their involvement in a theft in Shibuya Ward. One of the suspects said he had applied for a “dark part-time” job. Although evidence has not emerged of Luffy overseeing the crime in Kita Ward, it has been confirmed that the suspects were being instructed on the scene via smartphone.

The MPD is investigating who directed the three perpetrators.