THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
September 14, 2019 at 15:30 JST
Police arrested a 40-year-old fugitive Sept. 14 after he turned himself in and admitted to firing a toy air gun at a vehicle driving slowly in front of him on the Tomei Expressway.
Aichi prefectural police announced the arrest of Tatsuhiko Sato on suspicion of destruction of property over the incident that occurred Sept. 8.
Aichi police are trying to determine whether there is any connection between Sato and four other incidents involving the firing of air guns at vehicles and pedestrians that were reported in Kyoto and Kobe between July and August.
Sato, admitting to the latest case of road rage, told police: "The car in front of me would not move to the side when I approached it. I became angry when I almost hit the car when the driver applied the brakes. That was when I fired the air gun."
According to Aichi police, Sato was driving a minivan at about 7 a.m. on Sept. 8 on a stretch of the Tomei Expressway between the Nisshin junction and Kamigo service area in Aichi Prefecture when he fired the air gun at the car in front of him driven by a 23-year-old company employee. The rear of the car was peppered in four places by air gun pellets.
The other driver immediately called police and said the car behind was driving in a threatening manner.
About 80 minutes later, neighboring Gifu prefectural police spotted the minivan parked on the shoulder of the Chuo Expressway. The car had run out of fuel. When police tried to question the driver and a woman standing outside of the car, the man, believed to be Sato, fled, leaving the woman behind.
Police learned the minivan was stolen and they also found an air gun as well as about 2,000 BB pellets and a license plate inside the car.
Aichi police obtained an arrest warrant and were searching for the suspect in the Kansai region.
Accompanied by two friends, Sato turned himself in at the Amagasaki-Higashi Police Station in Hyogo Prefecture shortly after midnight on Sept. 13.
The car driven in the previous road rage incidents was very similar to the one Sato abandoned in Gifu.
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