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Smart cop nabs fast, flighty thief

Date Posted: 2004-11-26

A bicycle riding tourist on Hateruma Island was victimized by a thief this week, as her purse was stolen while she stopped to admire the sunset along the ocean.

The woman returned to her bicycle, only to discover the purse gone from the front basket. She immediately reported the theft to the islandís lone policeman, 28-year-old Tatsuyuki Itou. Itou patrols the island daily, and figured he knew the answer, even though there had been no reports of other criminal behavior.

The policeman hadnít heard of anyone in the area except the birds. An idea forming, Itou took a sweet bun and planted it in the area where the purse was stolen. He then staked the area out from 30 meters away. Sure enough, a crow swept down and snatched the morsels, then flew away.

Itou, knowing the birds have a habit of hanging out in the same place, tracked the crow as it flew to a nearby tree. He was right.

Beneath the tree was the missing purse, laying open with the womanís drivers license and receipts exposed. •1,000 notes were there too, ripped apart by the crow. The policeman returned the purse to its owner.

No word of any arrests in the case.

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