COVID-19 INFORMATION What you need to know about the coronavirus if you are living in Japan or planning a visit.
crime

40 police cars, 100 officers, one copter mobilized to chase 2 thieves

72 Comments

Police said Monday they arrested two suspected thieves who fled after a hit-and-run in Saitama Prefecture. Kawagoe police took into custody Akahisa Azami, 29, and a 16-year-old girl who attends a school for the handicapped, on suspicion of theft. The arrest came after a chase involving a total of 100 officers in 40 police cars and one helicopter.

According to police, the two are accused of robbing a 55-year-old woman who was on her way home just after midnight in Tokorozawa on Sunday. Azami grabbed the woman's purse containing about 10,000 yen, and got into his car with the girl, who was acting as lookout. About four hours later in Kawagoe, they struck the car of a 36-year-old man, severely injuring him. The two suspects ditched their vehicle and ran away on foot.

An eyewitness called police and reported a couple running away from the accident. Police immediately dispatched a helicopter and 40 patrol cars carrying about 100 officers. The two suspects separated but were apprehended only 200 meters from the accident just after dawn. The incident occurred in an area with lots of rice fields and small houses, giving police in the helicopter a clear view of the attempted getaway.

© Wire reports

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

72 Comments
Login to comment

Good grief. "Pathetic" doesn't even begin to describe this sharade.

Imagine if it'd been a crime of a far serious nature.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow! Where to begin on this one? Who was the 55-year old woman? The wife of a politician? How did her purse-snatching rate all this, while normally the J.cops prefer to just write a report and possibly put up a drawing.

And how hard could it have been to chase these two? The girl is from a school of the handicapped according to the article. I assume she wasn't in a wheelchair or blind, but 40 cars? We aren't talking Bonny & Clyde or Hollywood movies here!

I bet a lot of people in Kawagoe lost sleep over this! I hope it was worth it!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I expect the cops were just trying to spend all their car-chase budget, to make sure it doesn't get cut next year.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm glad the cops caught these fools. Hats off!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yeah, a ridiculous waste of manpower. Cue the Benny Hill music!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It sounds like whole police officers joined to chase only 2 suspects. What stupid waste of taxpayers money?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

40 cars, 100 police but they were only 200m from the crime scene??? This does not make sense!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That's a lot of people, but I am happy they caught them. Robbing an old woman and then a hit and run? That 36 year old man could die. That's pretty serious stuff. If they had sent one patrol car and they'd gotten away, that would have been worse.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What? No bikes?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

i believe they were rehearsing for a "police academy 5" flick.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That's an officer per 100 yen stolen, for four hours.

In Machida I videotaped 10 cops chase down one teenager. Most of the backup came riding on bikes with hand-bells ringing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In Roppongi I saw one pursesnatcher take off. How many cops went after him? Zero. This was 50m from the full-sized police station. Ironically enough, the snatcher had 10 lookouts.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I bet it was 40 police women on bicycles.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think that is awesome. yeah a little over kill. But come on!!! you people rag on the cops left and right. all the F'n time. The reason these cops overreact for this, or mess that up is because they have no practice. There are hardly any crimes going on. How good would a doctor be if he never had an patients to hone his skills on? These cops finally got out of their koban and got some real world practice. They probably drove their cars over 40km and hour. that's a 1st. And how often do you think they get to organize that many officers at one time. If something serious did happen, and you are in the middle of it and need help. I bet you would be glad they come, and with some practice under their belts. Its amazing how everyone on this site just wants to bash japan for everything!!!! yeah they have a lot of wierd or stupid or funny things about them. But the average nihonjin wouldn't make fun of you for every single thing you do.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Benny Hill music- classic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

4:00 AM in Kawagoe and they find 100 police officers? Slow night but I'm waiting to hear "the rest of the story." i.e. what exactly the officers were doing (checking hiding places, for example), why the girl goes to a handicapped school (physical? mental?). And other details as they come in.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Proves that Japanese cops do nothing. I'm not saying they have nothing to do, they just do nothing. They don't even handout parking tickets any longer. (Out sourced that) Now their job is 100% image. They don't want to make arrests because that would make the crime percentage go up and Japan's reputation would be hurt. So, lose your motorcycle? Bicycle? Money? they don't care. They will file their report and go back to sleep. 99% just sitting around until they feel they want to go out and play.

Yelnats, women are not allowed. Remember their job is for image. We have women in our force. But they don't do anything except try to look pretty and drive around in K cars.

Japanese police should make a movie. Copy the American hit "Bad News Bears." They have so many people who can act.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I guess the cops got sick of walking down the street checking bicycles, or got sick and tired of sitting in their kobans staring at the glass doors like seasame street puppets and when the call came over the radio every cop shouted in unison "Yosh" got up and ran to their cars to break the sheer boredom. But seriously why on earth would you need 40 cars when you have a helicopter overhead??? Wouldn't you need just 1 car or 2 at the most to listen to the pilots instructions of where the badguys were heading????

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So it took 100 police officers to catch two people. So what? How many did it take to bring down OJ when he was driving along the Freeway and he was an innocent man. These two robbed someone, caused an accident which severly injured someone and then fled the scene of the crime. Clearly it was overkill but surely it was better than doing nothing.

Oh and Noborito, you've outdone yourself: I'm not saying they have nothing to do, they just do nothing. . So, lose your motorcycle? Bicycle? Money? they don't care. They will file their report and go back to sleep. 99% just sitting around until they feel they want to go out and play. Yes, that's right. And this story proves your point exactly. The police do nothing. They just go to sleep. With the exception of the 100 officers involved in this case of course.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ohh, noborito, they do, they do many things!

Like cop on a bike waiting on a signal to catch scooters that override from left to make a right turn. In the same time letting lots of cars pass on red signal.

Then others are hiding in a spot of a street that is passage for schools. Usually banned for use 7:30-9am and 12-18pm - they just wait and catch whoever passes on wheels.

But I would agree with inakaRob! While the numbers are shocking (application for Guiness ?) it was good exercise for some sleepy policemen I guess.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Even thought the Blue Brothers movie came to mind after I read this article, I'm glad the perps were caught.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It was a great night to go burgling in Kawagoe last night.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Too many cops..most of 'em useless and not enough work for them other than harassing tourists,checking bike lamps or trying to up their traffic conviction quotas.Embarrassing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Dear lord. I suspect this will be yet another embarrassing international news story for the police, where the CNN commentators can't help laughing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow. That was a lot of police and police cars. It seems like all's well that ends well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ok, Ok, let me recap the story as a normal person understands it. First - SAITAMA — next a 29 year old man and a 16 year old handicap girl (name withheld to protect the minor).

The man purse snatches from an elderly woman roaming around Tokorozawa after midnight with 10,000 yen in her purse. The odd couple criminals drive around about four hours until they get into a hit and run accident in Kawagoe. A eye witness calls the incident in and the J-cops call in reinforcements to manage the crime scene.

Helecopter support has a clear view of the 200 meter area in the rice fields. One hundred J-cops in hot pursuit of two alleged criminals.

Perpertrators caught and arrested the two as suspected theives.

I am surprised they did not bring the dogs out to help catch the suspected theives.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow 40 cars and 100 officers were just sitting around doing nothing before this? There seems to be a serious over population of police

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They should make a movie out of this successful arrest. I can only hope that many officers will get a promotion for this outstanding work.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

no no no - you are all missing the point. it was sports day and they were just getting in their exercise for the year.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sounds like a recipe for another Hollywood bubble-gum movie.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I guess the cops got sick of walking down the street checking bicycles, or got sick and tired of sitting in their kobans staring at the glass doors like sesame street puppets

Oh, no they didn't.... I just saw those clowns the other day, working there way down a row of bicycles... And as for just sitting at their desk inside a Koban, I haven't actually seen any cops in any Kobans in a while... That would be a definitely an improvement, if they were actually at the place they were suppose to be... I've seen people sitting at the Koban's desk, just waiting for these clowns to come back, from whatever more important duties they have, like ticketing cyclist.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Blues brothers does Japan. Moreover, if the 16 year old attends a special school, there is not going to be a trial for her anyway. So effectively this massive amount of resources was deployed to run down one guy. What a joke.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oddly, I was watching the Blues Brothers this afternoon before reading this news article. Maybe these two were on a mission from God?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So, a woman's purse was snatched and four hours later there is a hit-and-run and an eye-witness calls the police. Then 400 cops and one copter catch the two suspects only 200 meters away from the accident?! A waste of resources? YES!! I think two police cars could have accomplished this daunting task. What a joke!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Time they went after the real crooks out there. I mean it is good they caught this one but perhap an example over an too many cooks on the job.

When you do need their presence police are nowhere to be seen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

10,000 yen robbery,they used 40 police cars,100 officers and 1 helicopter. What is the cost of this operation in Yens?

This waste of resources to catch 10,000 yen only thief.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Actually, no. The suspects managed to hit another person's while fleeing with their stolen 10,000 yen. They severely injured a man in this hit-and-run. That warrants a bit of attention from the police, IMO.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That warrants a bit of attention from the police, IMO.

Sure, but not 100 officers + copter attention.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just for 10.000 yen? Idiots

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just for 10.000 yen? Idiots

There were some Saizeriya drink bar tickets in the woman's purse as well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow 40 cars and 100 officers were just sitting around doing nothing before this? There seems to be a serious over population of police

100% right. Remember it was on a Sunday night, in an area full of rice fields. What do 100 officers do when nothing happens (99.9% of the times)?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think the real joke is the people who talk and joke loudly while having no clue what it takes to set up a city-wide dragnet to make sure that suspects don't get away in the time it takes even one cop to arrive at a scene.

Its really easy to use your 20/20 hind-sight and say they over-reacted, but when you get middle of the night calls from panicky old ladies and people so completely out of the know like 90 percent of the people above including whoever wrote the article, well then you take the risk of overreacting. If you don't, suspects get away.

Most of you are so dumb, you don't when to complain or when to be thankful, so you just complain 24/7. None of you complainers are sticking your necks out to do this difficult job, and you simply don't have the mental faculties even if you wanted to.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Police reaction was not to 'little old lady's purse snatch' but to a hit and run driver who at aprox. 0400 hrs severly injured an innocent guy.

Within approx. 2 hrs whole incident was over with suspect caught.

Hit and run. Severly injured. Suspect caught.

I wish i could read of such efficency (and resources) regarding my local (UK) police.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Police reaction was not to 'little old lady's purse snatch' but to a hit and run driver who at aprox. 0400 hrs severly injured an innocent guy.

I am not so sure. The article lacks detail. The purse snatching might have put them on alert so that this was possible at around four in the morning:

Police immediately dispatched a helicopter and 40 patrol cars carrying about 100 officers.

But that is just a tiny possible error in a post that was 99 percent spot on. I wish more people were as thoughtful as you anthony39. I would rather bicker over minor details than the big picture that most here completely missed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't think it should be pointed out, but it appears many people here are having difficulty understanding the article.

The officers were not mobilized over a purse snatching. They were mobilized because they had reckless culprits who obviously don't care about public safety.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

40 police cars, 100 officers, one copter mobilized to chase 2 thieves

With the congestion and narrow roads in Japan it would be fun to watch this chase live!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good work of the police. They decided to take things seriously after the hit and run in which someone could have died. Have a problem with that? I don't. What if the injured driver dies/died? What if he were a family member, good friend, etc.? What would your reaction be? Finally, the real identity of the suspects was revealed after they were apprehended. Read before you write, I could say to a couple of posters here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm just amazed they had 100 officers sitting around to respond to this, talk about a waste of resources. Japanese police certainly aren't very impressive from what I've seen...stopping young kids on mopeds and standing in front of thier police boxes with red and white plastic sticks....oooooooh, I'm scared :-)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Proves that Japanese cops do nothing."

Proves that Japanese cops have nothing to do. American (specially for you) cops, Noborito?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't think anyone is intending to make light of a hit and run accident. That is a terrible crime. I'm just questioning their protocal. Is is normal to send out that number of cars to apprehend two suspects in a car?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"There were some Saizeriya drink bar tickets in the woman's purse as well"

Wow!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Really, don't we think that was just a little too much of resources used. seriously they should use those kinds of resources on the so called biker gangs that drive up and down the streets of Japan. But for 2 thieves, those 100+ officers must have had nothing to do. Really now.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nice job cops.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

40 police cars, 100 officers, one copter mobilized to chase 2 thieves... Why not calling also the Army, Navy and Airforce? If I was around with video camera, I would be able to produce a good movie, not about two thives but how cops were waisting taxpayers money. Has crime on the streets reduced so much? Were cops looking for something to do???

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think this is why we are all so safe in Japan. Don't knock it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder how many police are still working on finding the Hawker murderer. I doubt that effort is continuing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It depends on the wording , how you read, and how you interpret, mobilization, chase, and search. SOme might have an image of 40 cars chasing two people in a line, which isn't probably the case. What was thecase was officers in a wide area wereona lookout.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Does that mean he has 6 stars?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think this is why we are all so safe in Japan. Don't knock it.

Absolutely! We are safe from all those 16 year old, handicapped female students with sticky fingers. But certainly not safe from the real crims in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree that the "mobilization" of forty cars and one hundred officers probably means something along the lines of a wide search pattern rather than a pinpointed chase through the rice fields of Saitama, but it's still a ridiculous waste of resources. Folks, COPS AREN'T FREE. Who pays for the gas all those cars used? Taxpayers. Who pays for the helicopter? Taxpayers. Who pays the salaries for all those cops? Taxpayers. Dispatching that many officers over what amounts to a petty crime is ridiculous. They'd have been better served by alerting police in the immediate area, not exceeding maybe five cars, with a description of the two, and then letting them patrol. That leaves the remaining 35 cars and 80+ officers free to respond to any REAL emergencies that might crop up. I mean, they called out a HELICOPTER over a hit-and-run caused by a couple of purse snatchers, one of whom is a handicapped sixteen year old girl! That doesn't feel a LITTLE overboard to you? Given the number of hit and runs in Japan, the police coffers would be drained within a month if they sent out the chopper every time, let alone "mobilizing" 100+ officers and setting 40 police cars on alert. Talk about overkill!

What if you stole somebody's wallet, then went and ran a stop sign as you made your getaway? What are they going to do, call out the F-16s?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That's a lot of firepower to nail a couple of purse snatchers. Must have been a slow crime day or maybe a good day to do crimes while the police were busy chasing these two.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow! When I read that they dispatched 40 cars, 100 police and a copter for some thieves, I thought they finally found Lupin the 3rd or something!

I would love to see how much this 100 dollar thievery cost the country in taxes...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I keep telling people crime doesn't pay in Japan -except if you are the Police.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The headline is misleading. It leaves out the fact that they severely injured a man after driving into his car. That's called "assault with a deadly weapon" where I come from. Meaning that these two weren't just thieves -- they were more dangerous than that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It seems to me that the Japan Today staff wrote that headline for the deliberate purpose of inviting people to dump on the Japanese police. That's why they left the serious injury out of the headline -- then buried it several paragraphs down in the story.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

BurakuminDes -Absolutely! We are safe from all those 16 year old, handicapped female students with sticky fingers.

Not only 20/20 hindsight, because they did not know about her so clearly at the time, but you also left out the 29 year old male suspect, the main culprit in both crimes! Is this meant to be comedy?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You are correct Jennifer, the headline is a bit sensational. But I guess it's news today.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Remember the old saying, "Quality not quantity"? 5-6 cars and 20 officers and a helicopter would have been much more efficient. Of course if some silly person is saying 40 cars, 100 officers, and a helicopter when all it was is just 100 officers given a heads up instead of actually being involved in the chase and apprehension of the suspects then they need to work on their reporting skills.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@mnemosyne23: hello buddy. they are going to Drive around ANYWAY!!!! wasting gas. what are you talking about. do police ONLY drive their car when they chasing someone? thats why they are called PARTOL CARS!!!! they patrol. this 'chase' didnt cost a dime more than it would any other day. and besides It gave these guys a chance to actually work together in a controlled effort. And like most people said, its probably just a search pattern. I doubt 100 guys just jump into a car and go. they were probably already out PATROLLING and they got a call to look for the suspects. I mean really come on people. WE are all aware of the sub-par writing on this sight. the half information, and bad translation. Have you never seen a cop moive or show. What are they doing, they are patrolling around the city. They dont do it as much in japan, but they still do it! and what happens when a crime is reported. Some one goes on this device called a radio and sends a message out. All the cops in the city get the message, the ones who are close or are needed join the search. Why do you people look for things to hate about japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To be honest it makes for a good training exercise if nothing else.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

JenniferKim:

that headline for the deliberate purpose of inviting people to dump on the Japanese police. That's why they left the serious injury out of the headline -- then buried it several paragraphs down in the story.

I agree with you. The main point is that this is a hit-and-run with someone severely injured. That requires all police in the area to be on alert.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All that police manpower, and yet, not even one car is ever seen patrolling known drug areas!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites