• Kyodo


A man convicted of assault and theft has been arrested in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, four days after he escaped an attempt to be brought into custody.

Makoto Kobayashi, 43, brandished a knife before fleeing in a vehicle when prosecutors and police tried to take him into custody Wednesday. He was apprehended at around 6:40 a.m. Sunday while hiding in a friend’s apartment, according to the Yokohama District Public Prosecutor’s Office.

This time, though, he did not attempt to evade capture.

Kobayashi was put on a nationwide wanted list Thursday for obstructing officers from performing their duty after the authorities visited his apartment in Aikawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, around 1 p.m. the previous day to detain him.

He was later seen driving a car down the Tomei Expressway toward Nagoya. The vehicle was found at about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday outside an apartment building in Atsugi, some 7 kilometers away from his home, where a female friend lives, according to local police.

Before arriving at her apartment, he stopped at a convenience store in Atsugi, where a security camera captured footage of him with shorter hair and wearing different clothes, the police said.

Kobayashi had been sentenced to over three years in prison for previous crimes, including a violation of the stimulants control law.

According to police, Kobayashi was part of a group that carried out a total of 105 robberies in 2017 in which valuables worth about ¥38 million were stolen.

He told investigators he had used the money for entertainment and living expenses.

His sentence was finalized in February after the Tokyo High Court turned down his appeal. He was out on bail while his appeal was ongoing and repeatedly ignored orders to report to authorities after his conviction was decided, the office said.

“He told me he would go to prison, so his next visit won’t be for several years,” a 40-year-old manager of a shop which Kobayashi frequently visited, said, revealing his conversation with Kobayashi at the shop around two months ago.

“I thought he had intended to pay for his crimes,” the shop manager said, appearing surprised that Kobayashi had fled.

After he escaped, police sought information about Kobayashi through his network of friends in a bid to locate his whereabouts. Although he informed the police Friday that he would turn himself in on Saturday, he did not do so, according to an investigative source.

On Sunday, Kobayashi’s friend who was with him at the apartment in Yokosuka was also arrested on suspicion of harboring a criminal.

“We sincerely apologize for causing great anxiety to residents and school personnel in the area over the incident,” Ryoichi Nakahara, chief prosecutor of the Yokohama prosecutor’s office, said after Kobayashi was arrested.

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