An inmate who escaped from an open-type prison in Imabari, Ehime Prefecture, on Sunday night, is believed to be hiding out in Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, after a string of thefts was reported in the area.
Police suspect that the 27-year-old fugitive, Tatsuma Hirao, may be responsible for six cases of theft—ranging from money to goods from homes and vehicles in Mukaishima, near Onomichi, since his escape, Fuji TV reported.
Hirao escaped from Matsuyama Prison's Oi shipyard -- a rare open-type prison facility in Japan -- at around 6:10 p.m. on Sunday and apparently stole a car and cash from a home about a kilometer from the prison. The car was found abandoned near a bridge in Onomichi.
Hirao began serving his term at the shipyard last December, one of Japan's four prison facilities without perimeter walls.© Japan Today/Kyodo