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West Japan man arrested for allegedly trying to abduct minor for 'stealing' 1,000 yen

The Shiga Prefectural Police headquarters is seen in the city of Otsu. (Mainichi)

OTSU -- A man was arrested in western Japan on Feb. 12 on suspicion of trying to abduct a local girl after he allegedly ordered her into his car after she "stole" a 1,000-yen note from the floor of a bookstore, police said.

According to the Shiga Prefectural Police's Higashiomi Police Station, the suspect, Wataru Ando, 38, a construction worker living in the Saitama Prefecture city of Kawaguchi, north of Tokyo, stands accused of attempting to abduct a minor.

Ando has partially denied the allegation, saying, "I ordered the girl into my car to take her to the police." Investigators believe that he deliberately placed the banknote on the floor.

Police suspect that Ando escorted the girl, aged 12 at the time, from a bookstore in the Shiga Prefecture city of Higashiomi at around 6 p.m. on April 29, 2019, after she picked up the 1000-yen bill left on the floor, saying, "You committed a crime! I'll report it to the police!" After the suspect reportedly tried to force the girl into his car, she ran away after becoming scared.

The girl filed a report with police about a week later and Ando was identified by security camera footage and other information. Ando is thought to have been living in Higashiomi at the time of the alleged crime. Police are investigating his motive and the details of the incident.

(Japanese original by Akiho Narimatsu, Otsu Bureau)

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