TOKYO (AP) — Japanese police have launched a massive manhunt for a robbery and rape suspect who fled from a police station after reportedly stealing an officer’s sneakers.
Junya Hida fled Sunday from a consultation room at the Tondabayashi police station in Osaka after meeting his lawyer, and was still at large a day later, local police said Monday.
Police placed the 30-year-old suspect on a nationwide wanted list and deployed 3,000 officers to search for him.
Hida, who was not handcuffed, apparently forced open an acrylic panel that separated detainees from an area for visitors and then escaped, police said.
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Hida reportedly stole a policeman’s sneakers before escaping from the second-floor consultation room, leaving behind his sandals. He had been detained at the police station for two months on charges of rape, robbery and other crimes, officials said.
Duty officers, who customarily are not present during consultations, were unaware of his disappearance until they checked the room almost two hours after the lawyer left.
Lawyers are asked to notify duty officers when they leave. The lawyer left Sunday without telling anyone.
Police told neighborhood schools and residents to lock their windows and stay vigilant.
Japan has a relatively low crime rate and prison escapes are rare. A prison break by a convicted thief in April triggered a large-scale manhunt for three weeks in western Japan until he was recaptured.