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Police hunt for killer in Kashiwa

Kyodo

Police have launched a robbery and murder investigation after one man was stabbed to death and three others were assaulted and robbed Monday night on streets in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, police said Tuesday.

A man thought to be in his 30s was stabbed with a knife or similar object at around 11:35 p.m. The victim, who had not been identified as of Tuesday, was confirmed dead from multiple stab wounds to the neck and back soon after being transported to a hospital.

The police said several business cards were scattered around the site, but the victim’s wallet was not found.

Another three victims were slashed or robbed at knife point in the same area within a 10-minute interval, the police said.

A 25-year-old man who suffered a minor injury said he was stopped while riding his bicycle by a man who threatened him with a knife. He was slashed on his left hand when he tried to push the assailant away.

A 44-year-old victim said the assailant told him he “had already killed” someone and forced the man to hand over his wallet.

Police said the fourth victim, a 47-year-old man, was robbed of his car when he stopped and got out to help one of the victims, who was lying in the street. The suspect climbed into the car and drove away. It was later found with the engine running in front of a convenience store about 1.5 km northeast from where it had been stolen.

The suspect was described as a 170-cm-tall male in his 20s to 40s. The police said that according to victims’ statements, he was wearing a black jacket, a hat, sunglasses and a face mask.

The residential area where the attacks occurred is about 1 km northwest of JR Kashiwa Station.

Before the rash of incidents, the police received a report from a woman saying she had been followed by a man near where the four assaults took place.

In addition, a woman who was on her way home Friday night was suddenly hit in the back of the head with a rod or a similar object, leaving her seriously injured, the police said.

That assault took place about 2 km from the site of the Monday assaults.

The local board of education notified residents of the danger using a database of email addresses provided by teachers, school staff and parents of children enrolled in Kashiwa’s elementary and junior high schools.

To ensure children’s safety, students were instructed to walk to school in groups and all school routes are being guarded by school staff.

“We want to protect children from any harm on their way to and from school,” said 56-year-old Shinji Ogawa, vice principal of Kashiwa Dai-Yon Elementary School.

The municipal government warned residents using the disaster prevention information system. In an email sent at around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, residents were advised not to walk alone and to use brightly lit routes.