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Okinawa Traffic Jam Nabs Crook After Series of Crimes

Date Posted: 2004-03-25

A crime spree swept across Okinawa last week, giving police a couple challenges.

The funny thing was, the five crimes committed in the half-day time frame were all accomplished by the same perpetrator. He evaded police during a chase that took hours, and went through five cities.

It all began at noon in Tomishiro City, when he stole a car and drove to Okinawa City. There, he robbed a supermarket of Y45,000 by demanding money from a cashier. He repeated the move minutes later at a Chatan Town supermarket, again demanding and getting Y35,000 from a cashier.

From there, he struck at a Ginowan City convenience store, taking money from a cash register, then fleeing.

Meanwhile, the stolen carís owner had notified police, who launched a search. By the time the robber was headed from Ginowan toward Urasoe, he had a pack of police cars on his tail, causing him to become nervous and careless.

He drove down a narrow street, suddenly finding himself at a deadend. He abandoned the car and ran from police, then momentarily had luck his way. He commandeered another car, jumping in near Uchima in Orasoe City, pushing the driver out and continuing his escape.

Okinawa Police had set up a dragnet on Highway 58, with many police cars stopping traffic to inspect each car. That caused a major traffic jam, trapping the crook.

He was arrested in the middle of the traffic roadblock in Naha City, on Highway 58. The unemployed 34-year-old thief, Kiyotoshi Tatsuta, is now in jail.

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