Arrested Two Weeks Later…Why Kanagawa Prefectural Police “Missed a Wanted Man” and Failed to Catch Him
I was tired of running away.”
On the morning of November 2, the fleeing suspect turned himself in to the Kanagawa Prefectural Police Headquarters. The prefectural police officials must have been relieved. It had been about two weeks since the suspect had eluded them. Finally, they were able to take the man into custody and make an arrest. The suspect, Daisuke Uchino, 44, is a gangster and a man in his 50s. He is a gang member who locked two men in their 50s in the trunk of his car in Yokohama City. He was suspected of being involved in an assault case and was wanted in August of this year.
The unprecedented situation occurred on October 20. The article in “FRIDAY Digital” (October 24, 2011; some corrections have been made) was based on the details of the case. The following is a review of the details of the incident based on the article in FRIDAY Digital (distributed on October 24; some corrections have been made).
Shortly after 3:00 p.m., Kanagawa Prefectural Police surrounded a closed-down hotel in Minami Ward, Sagamihara City, where the wanted suspect Uchino was believed to have fled to. The police immediately put the hotel on high alert, including closing the surrounding streets to traffic. However, Uchino had already fled, and the hotel was deserted.
Around noon of the same day, investigators in pursuit of Uchino found his car in a coin-operated parking lot near JR Machida Station.
After a while, the suspect Uchino returned. However, when the investigators got out of the car to call out to him, the suspect noticed them and fled. He ran about 100 meters to the site of an abandoned hotel that had closed its doors in August 2009.
150 people surrounded the hotel, but it was a shell of a shell. ……
The prefectural police increased their force to 150 men. Police officers with batons and wands surrounded the hotel. A police dog was also deployed, and the police surrounded the hotel for about four hours. The atmosphere at the scene was tense as the police tried to execute an arrest warrant immediately after securing Uchino.
However, after 7:00 p.m., the situation suddenly changed. The road restrictions were lifted, and police officers suddenly began to leave the scene.
They discovered that the suspect was not on the hotel premises. They searched every room in and around the building, but could not find him. It is believed that he had fled the scene before the police surrounded the area. The grounds are large and include a bowling alley and a chapel. Investigators confirmed that the Uchino suspect had entered the grounds, but did not seem to know if he had fled into the hotel building”.
There is a school near the hotel, and children go to school in groups. Residents in the area must have been growing concerned when they learned of the police blunder. Former Kanagawa Prefectural Police detective and crime journalist Taihei Ogawa explains the background of the incident.
In July 1992, another stand-in incident took place in the neighborhood, in which a police officer was killed in the line of duty. The police had to be cautious. I saw the hotel where the incident took place, and it had several exits, so it was a structure from which people could escape from anywhere.
That does not absolve the police of responsibility. The biggest mistake was that they missed the timing to call out in the parking lot in the first place. They should have approached the criminal without his prior knowledge and made the arrest quickly.”
It has been about two weeks since the wanted criminal escaped. The residents of the neighborhood can finally sleep in peace.
Photographed by： Shinji Hasuo