OSAKA — Osaka Prefectural Police have released a 55-year-old woman after wrongly arresting her earlier this month on suspicion of stealing a bank book and “hanko” seal, it was learned Monday.

According to police, Hiroaki Ishibashi, a 52-year-old self-employed man of Hirano Ward, Osaka, has now been arrested in connection with the case.

Police first arrested the woman, whose name has been withheld, on Sept. 2 based on Ishibashi’s statements. However, she denied committing the thefts, and Ishibashi confessed during further questioning, investigators said.

The two were among a group of acquaintances of the 71-year-old woman whose belongings were stolen. Many of them often visited her home, according to police.

In early August, the 71-year-old woman discovered that her bank book and seal had been stolen from her house in Hirano Ward and reported it to police on Aug. 12. It was later discovered that 8.4 million yen had been withdrawn from her account on Aug. 6.

Ishibashi appeared at the woman’s house on Aug. 20., just as police were re-examining the circumstances of the robbery, and maintained that he was ordered to withdraw the money by the 55-year-old woman. Based on this, police arrested her on Sept. 2.

Ishibashi has since told police that he stole the key to the house in advance and broke in when the woman was out, explaining that he needed the money to keep his business afloat.

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