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3 men arrested over murder of 80-year-old woman in Tokyo

Police arrested on Wednesday three men over the murder and robbery of an 80-year-old woman in Tokyo last month, after investigators found similarities in the case with two other robberies targeting elderly people.
Tatsumi Komatsuzono, 27, Hiroki Sue, 22, and Yuta Sakai, 22, allegedly broke into the apartment of Kuniko Kato in Koto Ward on Feb 28 to steal from her, and killed her. The three men have denied the allegations, according to police.
Kato was found dead on that day by a nursing caregiver with her hands and feet bound. About two weeks before the murder, Kato told a friend she had received a suspicious phone call asking whether she kept money at home. She did not report the matter to police.
Prior to the case, two other robberies took place in Shibuya Ward in January and February. In those cases, the victims were also tied up and had received phone calls asking how they kept their money, according to investigative sources.
Investigators believe the three crimes were committed by the same group, given reports of a vehicle from witnesses and security camera footage of three men, both near Kato's apartment, and traffic records of vehicles used in the Shibuya cases.
On Jan. 11, three masked robbers broke into the residence of a 93-year-old man and his 86-year-old wife, tied them up and robbed them of cash worth about 20 million yen and jewelry. Two days before, a man pretending to be their son had called to ask for money, saying he had become sick, according to investigators.
On Feb 1, three men who claimed to be policemen entered the residence of a married couple in their 70s and 80s, tied them up and took about 4 million yen in cash. At least one of the three was wearing a ski mask, according to police.
Police have been alerting the public about suspicious phone calls to obtain personal information, such as assets and family makeup. Callers often identify themselves as relatives of the targets or poll takers, they said.


© KYODO
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