• Kyodo

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A police sergeant in Mie Prefecture was arrested Tuesday for shoplifting at a supermarket and using his brother’s identity to escape detection, police officials alleged Wednesday.

Sgt. Yutaka Ito, 52, of the Suzuka police station, shoplifted about 4,000 yen worth of sashimi and 11 other items from the food section at a supermarket in Suzuka on April 16, the officials said.

A security guard at the store caught him in the act and took him to the Suzuka police station.

Police said Ito identified himself using the name of an elder brother. Ito is the youngest of three brothers and he allegedly used the name of the brother closest to him in age. Initially, Suzuka investigators failed to recognize Ito, who had been transferred from the Tsu police station to Suzuka in late March, and believed his claim of identity when his eldest brother went to the police station and identified him as “my brother.”

Last Thursday, an officer involved in preparing documents to file charges with prosecutors noticed from a photograph that the suspect was not who he claimed to be.

Suzuka police reopened the case, found out the fraud and arrested Ito.

The sergeant apparently committed a similar crime in December 1999 when he allegedly shoplifted about 6,000 yen worth of tangerines and other produce at a supermarket in Hisai, Mie, again using the name of his second brother.

Police did not detect his subterfuge in that incident and are reinvestigating the theft using Ito’s fingerprints and other evidence.

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