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Osaka chief police inspector nabbed on suspicion of stealing supplements

The Osaka Prefectural Police headquarters (Mainichi/Tsuyoshi Fujita)

OSAKA -- A 54-year-old Osaka Prefectural Police chief inspector was arrested July 15 on suspicion of shoplifting three bags of dietary supplements from a local convenience store, police said.

Akira Kato, also a community police affairs division chief at the Minoo Police Station, allegedly stole 3,878 yen worth of supplements from a Lawson convenience store in Osaka's Konohana Ward at around 3:10 p.m. on July 13.

Kato, residing in the same ward of the western Japan city of Osaka, hid the bags of supplements in his pants' pocket and bought a can of alcoholic beverage, according to Osaka Prefectural Police's Inspection Office. He was off from work that day.

A female employee noticed that Kato looked like a man caught on the store's security camera when a dietary supplement product was stolen from the same store just a month ago. Prefectural police are investigating the relationship between the two cases.

Kato denied any involvement in the case when questioned by the prefectural police on the evening of July 13. He then fled to Japan's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido and did not respond to a police request to appear on July 14.

On the morning of July 15, however, he informed the police, "I am turning myself in. I'm in Hokkaido." Osaka Prefectural Police officers took the man into custody at Osaka International (Itami) Airport. They say Kato has admitted to the allegation.

The director of the Inspection Office commented, "We will take strict measures based on the outcome of the investigation."

(Japanese original by Kentaro Mikami, Osaka City News Department)

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