Man suspected of 30 counts of purse-snatching in and around Tokyo


Tokyo metropolitan police have arrested a man suspected of snatching purses from women by coming up behind them on a motorbike. Hironobu Watanabe, 40, is suspected to carrying out at least 30 such thefts, police said.

According to police, in September, Watanabe -- riding a white motorbike -- approached a 64-year-old woman on a bicycle in Tokyo's Adachi Ward, Sankei Shimbun reported. Watanabe then snatched the bicycle’s basket containing the woman’s purse and other personal belongings.

Police said street surveillance camera footage showed Watanabe taking the contents out of the stolen bicycle basket, dropping it and then fleeing the scene.

Since May of this year, about 30 similar purse-snatching incidents have been reported one after another in Tokyo, Chiba and Saitama Prefecture, in which the culprit was described as a man riding a white motorbike.

Watanabe has hinted at his involvement in the thefts and said he got rid of bags and purses by throwing them in the Kanda River.

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Watanabe has hinted at his involvement in the thefts

Just like the J police to lump a bunch of related crimes onto one crim to push the numbers up

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The target is not only women. I had my briefcase snatched from behind by a guy like this and lost everything in the split second it took . It is not a fun experience and glad this guy is off the streets.The cops rarely catch these guys so this is news.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Let's be on our guard against these nasty snatchers. Glad police have finally caught him anyway.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Women tend to make easier targets due to their tendency to carry bags containing their wallets, but indeed as oftopico said, this kind of thing sometimes happens to men carrying briefcases, small backpacks, or other bags as well. An older Japanese male friend of mine stopped in Shibuya to answer questions for two foreigners, and he put his bag down behind him. In the blink of an eye, it was gone. All 4 of us ran down Center-gai and found a very "normal" looking Japanese man in his 30's or early 40's with my friend's bag. He would not acknowledge us or stop for us and kept walking as if nothing was amiss and none of us existed. My japanese friend had to forcefully grab his own bag from the man in the middle of a crowded street, making him look like the bad one. Even as he pulled the bag and the rest of us tried to stand in the thief's way to stop him but the guy never paused even for a single step and just kept going forward until he was able to lose us in the crowd (we did stop though to make sure my friend and his bag and its contents were okay). It was eery how this guy seemed so unphased, like he has done this many times before. My friend said it was the second time in that same month such a thing had happened to him in that area. This thief didn't even have a bike and this happened. I don't think it's at all strange for the police to link the suspect they caught to multiple crimes of a similar nature. Some of these thieves out there are indeed very habitual in what they do.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This guy must have a thing for purses.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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