At around 6:40 p.m. on Sunday evening, a pair of men on a motor bike pulled up to a store that sells precious metals in Tokyo’s Ueno district, located a block away from Okachimachi Station. Without removing their helmets, the men entered the store, called Ryutsu, and began smashing its glass display cases with what appeared to be crowbars.
Soon after, a third man, on his own motorbike, stopped in front of the store and tried to head inside, also keeping his helmet on and removing a crowbar or pipe from his jacket. Almost immediately after he crossed over the threshold, however, the other two robbers came running back out, colliding with their accomplice. The tables had been turned by an employee armed with a weapon with greater reach: a polearm or sasumata.
▼ Video of the attempted robbery
The suspenders-wearing polearm-wielding employee was joined by a coworker, an older man in a suit. As they chased the robbers out of the shop, the suited man kicked over one of the bikes and pushed over the other. Still brandishing their crowbars, the three robbers backpedaled away from the swings of the man catcher, and when they eventually turned tail and ran, the employee in suspenders then turned the polearm on one of the bikes, slamming it down in a series of overhead smashes ostensibly with the aim of damaging it and limiting its effectiveness as a getaway vehicle. The criminals were unable to steal anything from the store, and no injuries to the employees or bystanders were reported.
This was the latest in an alarming increase in smash-and-grab robberies targeting luxury goods shops in Tokyo over the past year. Nearly a half-dozen have taken place so far this year in this particular part of Ueno, which has a cluster of jewelry and high-end watch shops. Speaking with reporters after the incident, the suited Ryutsu employee said that the store purchased its man catcher last year after seeing reports of similar crimes elsewhere in the city. The same employee also says that he believes he saw the same two motorbikes driving by the store the previous day at about the same time, and thinks they were likely scoping the pace out prior to the attempted robbery the next day.
Looking at the video, you might notice that the motorbikes appear to be partially covered by some sort of thick colored paper. This is most likely an attempt to obscure their paint color and other identifying model/manufacturer badges, in order to make them harder to identify by witnesses or investigators, but such deceptions are a moot point now that the police are in possession of the vehicles. In addition, the street the men fled down has so many jewelry and accessory shops that it’s known as Ruby Street, and with many of those shops having beefed up their security camera systems, hopefully footage from them can be used to help identify and apprehend the criminals.
Source: TV Asahi
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