A six-week investigation by the Shizuoka Prefectural Police bore fruit last week with the arrest of 21-year-old third-year university student Takahito Yamaguchi. On June 5, Yamaguchi traveled from his home in the Saitama Prefecture town of Soka to Shizuoka Prefecture’s Numazu, roughly 135 kilometers away. The reason for Yamaguchi’s excursion was that Numazu, the setting of "Love Live! Sunshine!!", had installed manhole covers decorated with likenesses of the anime’s schoolgirl characters.
However, according to the police, Yamaguchi didn’t go to Numazu to pay his respects, but to vandalize three of the city’s nine "Love Live! Sunshine!!" covers by spray painting over their multi-colored artwork.
Yamaguchi’s arrest follows those of two high school boys, one from Tokyo and one from Saitama, who also made the trip to Numazu in order to vandalize the covers, scratching them with a sharp-pointed instrument and damaging the paint and metalwork. Investigators say that Yamaguchi’s spray painting was done in collaboration with another high school boy, though he is yet to be publicly identified or taken into custody.
In response to the vandalism, the Numazu city government chose to remove the "Love Live!" covers on June 8, just three weeks after they were installed. The city has made no comment on whether it will be reinstalling the covers now that three arrests have been made, or if it’s decided that it can do without the otaku tourism attractions in light of their potential to draw vandals to the town as well.
When counted with the hoax bomb threat made against a Saitama-held "Love Live! Sunshine!!" concert by a high school boy from Okayama Prefecture in June, this brings the total to four arrests this summer for interprefectural "Love Live!"-related crimes.
Sources: Livedoor News/Jiji Tsushin via Jin, Sankei News
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