National

Police urge vigilance as thieves and scammers target Japan's typhoon-hit areas

JIJI

Sneak thieves and prowlers have been found to be active in areas of northeastern to central Japan stricken by Typhoon Hagibis in mid-October, authorities have said.

The Fukushima Prefectural Police confirmed four cases of attempted or actual sneak thievery, including a case in which cash was stolen from a house in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, on Oct. 18.

In another case, a resident encountered a thief at home at night. The resident did not incur any damage. As the intruder left, he said he came just to confirm the resident’s safety.

In the neighboring prefecture of Miyagi, cash and a purse were stolen from a home during cleanup work in the town of Shibata, according to the Miyagi Prefectural Police. A purse was also stolen from a house left unlocked in the city of Kakuda in the prefecture.

The police patrol shelters and warn evacuees of fraudulent business operators who charge hefty fees for construction work and disposal of disaster waste.

In central Japan, the Nagano Prefectural Police have received reports of a dozen incidents. For example, suspicious people were seen looking into empty cars in evacuation shelter parking spaces and soliciting donations for disaster victims.

A 72-year-old woman from the Tomitake district in the city of Nagano saw a young man in a police uniform who asked her neighbors about their families on Oct. 16.

The man claimed to have been dispatched to the “Yanagisawa” police box. But there is no such place as Yanagisawa nearby, and the uniform did not bear the police logo, according to the woman.

A 34-year-old man, whose home in the Tsuno district in the city was damaged by the typhoon, told police on the night of Oct. 16 about an unfamiliar parked car from outside the prefecture. In typhoon-hit areas, many volunteers work during the daytime. But those areas usually become empty after sunset. He said he was scared even though police patrols had been intensified.

Police remain vigilant around the clock.

GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5