TOKYO (AP) — Japanese police have launched a rare nationwide man hunt for a rape suspect who fled while he was being interrogated near Tokyo.
Police said Wednesday that the suspect, Yuta Sugimoto, 20, fled the day before from the prosecutors’ office in Kawasaki, south of Tokyo. He apparently loosened his waist rope after requesting a toilet break, Kanagawa prefectural police official said on condition of anonymity due to departmental rules. The suspect tore himself away from police officers and escaped.
The rare escape of a suspect during interrogation caught a nationwide attention was not only an embarrassment for the authorities but raised safety concerns among local residents.
Police on Wednesday mobilized 4,000 officers for the manhunt following an unsuccessful overnight search.
The escape also triggered fears among residents in the area. Some parents accompanied their children to schools, while students went to school in groups.
Police say Sugimoto was arrested Monday on suspicion of robbing and gang-raping a woman with another man. The case itself was not going to be made public, but that changed when the suspect vanished, the official said.