NEW DON QUIJOTE FIRE FOLLOW ARREST

Theft suspect chased at time of arson

Kyodo

A 47-year-old woman has been arrested for allegedly stealing a shopping basket from a Don Quijote outlet here Wednesday around 3 p.m. — the same time that merchandise was set on fire, police said.

The woman was arrested Thursday on suspicion of taking a 800 yen basket from the Omiyaowada store. A fire broke out around that time in the bedding section.

The woman was later caught with the basket, which also contained several other items from the store, including a watch, but she was quoted as telling police that she had no recollection of stealing it.

Police are expected to question her in connection with the fire, as well as two other fires at the Omiyaowada and Urawakagetu outlets of Don Quijote on Monday night. The bodies of three employees were found in the rubble of the latter fire.

After the woman was arrested, another small fire broke out Thursday at one of the mass discounter’s outlets in Chiba Prefecture.

Rolls of toilet paper were seen burning at about 5:30 p.m. at a store in the city of Chiba’s Chuo Ward.

Employees quickly put the fire out and there were no injuries, local firefighters said. Police suspect the fire also may have been deliberately set.

Investigators said the woman was arrested early Nov. 18 for breaking into the same Don Quijote outlet by shattering the automatic doors with a hammer before stealing eight items, including a travel bag, worth a total 58,000 yen.

She was released without charges after a psychiatric test showed she may not be able to be held liable for her actions.

The woman used the same car in both incidents and was identified by store security cameras, police said.

Investigators went to her home Wednesday and were waiting for her when she arrived around 7 p.m. She was holding the basket when she got out of the car.