TEENS HELD AFTER GINZA HEIST CLAIM NOT TO KNOW EACH OTHER
Four teenagers were arrested on May 8 after masked robbers at a luxury watch store in Tokyo’s Ginza district committed a heist so brazen that onlookers thought it was a movie shoot.
The teens are suspected of trespassing in an apartment in their apparent flight from the crime scene, police said.
According to Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department, three robbers, dressed in black and wearing white masks, forced their way into Quark Ginza 888, a store specializing in Rolex watches, in Tokyo’s Chuo Ward around 6:15 p.m. on May 8.
They threatened a store clerk with knives, smashed display cases with crowbars, and stole more than 100 wristwatches before fleeing in a white getaway van that was parked outside the store, investigative sources said.
The store is located on Chuo-dori, the tourist-busy main street of Ginza. The area, a hub for luxury fashion brands and popular stores, is the equivalent of New York’s Fifth Avenue and Paris’ Les Champs-Elysees.
Several pedestrians cast curious eyes at the individuals ransacking the store. Although puzzled, most of the onlookers continued to walk past the store.
But a few bystanders stuck around and captured the scene with their smartphones.
Police found the getaway van abandoned on a street in Minato Ward around 6:30 p.m.
They discovered the four male teenagers who had intruded into an apartment building in the Akasaka area, about 60 meters from where the van was abandoned.
The teens were arrested on the spot on suspicion of trespassing.
Their clothes were different from what the three robbers were seen wearing, police said.
Investigators on May 9 said the teenagers range in age from 16 to 19 years old, live in Yokohama, and had illegally entered the apartment in an attempt to flee from police.
Three of the four have admitted to trespassing, but one said, “I don’t know,” according to police.
Police said they are looking for evidence connecting the four to the robbery.
A man in his 50s who saw the robbery said he heard glass breaking and saw multiple people smashing showcases inside the store and quickly putting items into bags.
One woman on the sidewalk tried to close the store’s entrance door to prevent the robbers from escaping, he said. But she was pushed back by one of the bandits who brandished a crowbar, and the three rushed past her and jumped into the van.
The sequence of events took about five minutes, the man said.
“The store is always popular, and this is a high-traffic area,” he said. “At first, I thought they were shooting a drama. If it turns out to be a real crime, I’ll feel scared.”
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