• Kyodo


A 56-year-old police officer was arrested Saturday on suspicion of attempted robbery two years ago in Shizuoka Prefecture, police said.

The police said Hitoshi Kodama, an assistant inspector, allegedly threatened a drugstore owner and an employee with a knife and demanded money in the town of Ryuyo on the night of July 15, 2001, as the two closed the store.

Wearing a mask, a cap and gloves, Kodama is also believed to have splashed the owner with gasoline, which he threatened to ignite with a lighter before accidentally setting fire to his own clothes, which had also been sprinkled with gasoline, and running away, according to the police.

The suspect took four days off work immediately after the incident and later told fellow officers that he had suffered burns on his arms while cooking at home, the police said in a press conference Saturday.

The police said Kodama owes millions of yen to consumer credit firms, and the arrest came after an investigation resulting from a tip that Kodama was involved in the incident.

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