• Kyodo


A 34-year-old suspect who earlier in the week escaped police custody by jumping out of a moving squad car while handcuffed was arrested in Hakodate, southern Hokkaido, on Wednesday morning.

The arrest came 79 hours after Kenichiro Saito made his escape by first defecating on the car seat and prompting a police officer to open a car window.

Saito, a truck driver and resident of Sapporo, was arrested aboard an express train traveling between Hakodate and Sapporo by Hokkaido Prefectural Police investigators.

According to the police, Saito was initially arrested around 1 a.m. Sunday after he broke into the office of a heavy machinery leasing company in Chitose, near Sapporo.

Saito made his leap while the officer sitting next to him was looking the other way and while he himself was wiping his own buttocks.

Three officers were in the vehicle at the time. Normally, a suspect that is being driven to a police station will be flanked by officers on the rear seat.

This time, however, only one officer was sitting beside Saito. The other was in the front passenger seat, communicating with the police station via radio, police said.

Saito was placed on a nationwide wanted list, with roughly 300 officers mobilized the search for him.

Around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, two police officers spotted Saito near the ticket gates at JR Hakodate Station. When officers initially questioned Saito, he insisted that he was someone else. He eventually admitted the truth, however, when asked about bruises on his wrists apparently inflicted in his bid to remove the handcuffs.

Police later identified bruises on Saito’s arms and legs that are believed to have resulted from his jump out of the police car, which was traveling at 50 kph.

Investigators suspect that Saito stole a van in Chitose after the escape, returned to his home in Sapporo and then drove to the town of Mori, near Hakodate, where the van was abandoned.

He was wearing a suit and a tie and was carrying 230,000 yen when he was arrested.

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