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A 23-year-old Buddhist priest in Tokyo’s Chuo Ward was arrested Monday on suspicion of fatally assaulting a homeless man whom he accused of stealing cash from the temple’s offertory box, police said.

A passerby reported to police around 6:40 a.m. Monday that a man was passed out at the Nihonbashi Welfare Home Care Support Center in the Kodenmacho district, police said.

The man was dead when officers arrived.

Police arrested Taijo Koga, a resident priest at Minobu Betsuin Temple, which is located across from the center, after he admitted he “hit him because he stole offerings.”

Police are trying to identify the victim, who appeared to be in his 40s.

Koga told police that he was told by a fellow priest who returned to the temple around 2:30 a.m. Monday that someone was taking money out of the offertory box.

Koga spotted the homeless man on a street, believing he was the thief, and fatally struck him in the face and head, police said.

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