A massive manhunt was underway in Japan on Wednesday with 4,000 police officers, 850 vehicles, sniffer dogs, helicopters and boats scouring Kawasaki for an escaped rape suspect.
Yuta Sugimoto, 20, was being questioned over claims he was part of a gang that raped and robbed a woman on the streets of Kawasaki on Jan 2.
According to police, Sugimoto was speaking to his lawyer on the sixth floor of the Yokohama District Prosecutors Office building. He asked to use the restroom on the 4th floor. A police officer removed his handcuffs but left a restraint attached to Sugimoto's waist. In the few short moments when he was not being watched by the officer in charge, Sugimoto slipped from his bindings and escaped the building. The officer gave chase but lost him.
On Wednesday, police said that Sugimoto's clothes were discovered in the garden of a nearby house.
Police in the area mounted the massive operation when the alarm was raised, flooding the streets with thousands of officers and a huge amount of equipment, the Sankei Shimbun newspaper reported.
Police say Sugimoto was arrested Monday along with another man. The case itself was not going to be made public, but that changed when the suspect vanished, the official said.
Local schools instructed students not to venture out alone. "It is frightening that he is still on the run," one mother of an elementary school child told Fuji TV.© Japan Today/AFP