Search of suspect’s home revealed 12 whistles, suggesting repeat offenses.

On 17 May, in a park in Kasuga City, Fukuoka Prefecture, an 11-year-old girl was playing jump-rope in a park after school. For her security, she had been given an ID tag and a “crime prevention” whistle to blow in case of trouble.

On this particular day, however, it was initially hard to tell if trouble had arrived in the form of a 31-year-old man who approached the girl. “Blow your whistle,” requested the man, and when the girl refused, he grabbed it and the tag from around her neck and ran away.

The girl was unharmed but quickly reported the incident to police. Her description of the thief matched that of similar reports in the area of a strange man asking girls to blow their whistles and then running away.

Something in this latest report must have been a big tip off though, because on 18 May Fukuoka Prefectural Police announced the suspect’s arrest. In addition, upon searching his home, police discovered a collection of 12 similar whistles. They are currently investigating how each of these whistles came into his possession.

The whistles were put on display for the media along with a sign officially declaring this incident as a “tokui setto” or “unusual theft.” Adding to the peculiarity of it, the suspect reportedly admitted to the crime saying, “I like girls around elementary schools age. I wanted her to blow the whistle.”

Online comments were equally confused, but a significant number seem absolutely certain the suspect was an anime otaku.

“There are some messed-up guys out there.”
“I really want some news program to reenact this.”
“Unusual Theft Whistle V”
“When I read the sign that said ‘unusual theft,” I nodded and thought, ‘Indeed.'”
“This is the work of an anime otaku.”
“100% that’s an anime otaku.”
“Seems like he likes anime.”
“I have never been more sure of something than I am that this guy is an anime otaku.”

One comment also suggested a possible link to the web comic/anime Made in Abyss which features a 12-year-old heroine who is part of a group of cave explorers which uses different colored whistles to assign ranks.

▼ “Bells” are the lowest and “White Whistles” are the best.
Of course this is a fantasy anime, so keep your whistles to yourself in real life, please.

Hopefully the suspect is just a really socially inept anime fan who’s totally into whistles and thinks little girls are simply “cool.” Tensions in Japan have been heightened following the murder of a seven-year-old girl in Niigata and an overall apparent spike in bizarre incidents involving adult men and adolescent girls.

Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but hopefully this time an “unusual theft” is really nothing more than your average run-of-the-mill unusual theft of whistles.

Source: Sankei News, Hachima Kiko
Top image: Wikipedia/Zephyris