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Gang of boys arrested for spree of purse snatchings

Date Posted: 2003-06-14

Tomishiro Police arrested a group of five boys ages 16-18 this week on suspicion of a series of robberies and other crimes. Investigators say all five had gone to the same junior high school, all quit school after graduating from the junior high, and all went to Tokyo where they stayed together. All but one were jobless, and they eventually returned to Okinawa where they turned to life of crime.

Police say the boys stole nine motorcycles which they then used in 61 purse snatchings. They also broke into safety boxes in several offices, and stole money from homes when the residents were out.

The police had been investigating several incidents of purse snatching that had taken place in Okinawa's big cities over past few weeks. The latest incident happened on June 5 outside a bank in Okinawa City, where a man approached a woman from behind on a motorcycle and grabbed her bag stuffed with the cash she had withdrawn from her account. Similar incidents had been reported in Ginowan, Urasoe and Naha, and the method had been the same in every case.

Because of their age, officials say the boys do not face prison sentences. Instead, they are being sent to Naha District Family Court for sentencing.

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