Officers establish connection with one other vandal, show there’s nowhere for law-breaking otaku to hide.

This week, Japan’s police officers sent a clear message to the country’s at-large criminals. You may think you’ve gotten away with breaking the law, but they will find you, especially if your crimes are related to idol anime franchise Love Live!

On Wednesday, a six-week investigation by the Shizuoka Prefectural Police bore fruit with the arrest of 21-year-old third-year university student Takahito Yamaguchi. On June 5, Yamaguchi traveled from his home in the Saitama Prefecture town of Soka to Shizuoka Prefecture’s Numazu, roughly 135 kilometers (83.9 miles) away. The reason for Yamaguchi’s excursion was that Numazu, the setting of Love Live! Sunshine!!, had installed manhole covers decorated with likenesses of the anime’s schoolgirl characters.

However, according to the police Yamaguchi didn’t go to Numazu to pay his respects, but to vandalize three of the city’s nine Love Live! Sunshine!! covers by spray painting over their multi-colored artwork.

▼ Video of the damage, taken in the early hours of the morning on June 6

Yamaguchi’s arrest follows those of two high school boys, one from Tokyo and one from Saitama, who also made the trip to Numazu in order to vandalize the covers, scratching them with a sharp-pointed instrument and damaging the paint and metalwork. Investigators say that Yamaguchi’s spray painting was done in collaboration with another high school boy, though he is yet to be publicly identified or taken into custody.

In response to the vandalism, the Numazu city government chose to remove the Love Live! covers on June 8, just three weeks after they were installed. The city has made no comment on whether it will be reinstalling the covers now that three arrests have been made, or if it’s decided that it can do without the otaku tourism attractions in light of their potential to draw vandals to the town as well.

When counted with the hoax bomb threat made against a Saitama-held Love Live! Sunshine!! concert by a high school boy from Okayama Prefecture in June, this brings the total to four arrests this summer for interprefectural Love Live!-related crimes. We can’t imagine too many police officers signed up for the force because of a desire to hunt down scofflaw otaku, but hopefully with that criminal demographic now partially suppressed, law enforcement officials can get back to dealing with more glamorous crime-busting, like stopping the yakuza from poaching sea cucumbers.

Source: Livedoor News/Jiji Tsushin via Jin, Sankei News
Featured image: Twitter/@llllnumazullll