At around 2:50 p.m. on May 23, three men aged 18 to 22 broke into a home in Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture. They then began assaulting the two 75-year-old women who resided there, causing injuries. When the violent invasion was all finished, they ran off, taking with them a safe full of approximately 6.6 million yen in jewelry.
Afterward, the trio were found by police in a car in Nikko City, about 50 kilometers from the scene of the crime. Tochigi police gave pursuit in a helicopter as the fugitives tried to escape along the highway. In order to shake the chopper, they ditched the car inside a tunnel on the highway and ran into the mountain forest.
And that’s when things went really bad for them.
As they ran through the woods, the three men came face-to-face with a bear and quickly turned back the way they came.
However, in doing so they then came face-to-face with 20 officers who followed them into the forest. Now trapped in a classic squeeze play, the trio realized that the choice between getting arrested and getting mauled to death wasn’t really a choice at all, and went with the police.
Online reaction was enamored with this tale of cooperation between law enforcement and bears.
“It was a care bear.”
“That’s like something out of a manga.”
“I suppose it is better to go to jail than be eaten.”
“It’s like a fairy tale: The cops, the robbers, and the bear.”
“That bear deserves a medal… or honey.”
“Eh, the police should have just let nature run its course.”
The three criminals were transferred to the custody of Utsunomiya police where they face charges of robbery and assault which may lead to six years in prison.
As for the bear, it is said to have simply walked back into the woods when the chase had ended.
Source: Breaking News Japan, Hachima Kiko
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