February 26, 2008

Three single-mother 'cat's eye' burglars caught

This is the so called "copycat" burglars.

OSAKA -- A group of three women burglars who investigators called "Cat's Eye" after a famous manga about robbers have been arrested and now face further charges, police said.

Yoshimi Takeda, Akiko Sakai and Michiko Shinohara have been sent to the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office accused of trespassing with intent to steal.

The three single mothers who met each other through school or work are suspected of burglarizing at least 50 homes, netting about 10 million yen worth of booty in a spree across the Osaka and Kobe areas that went from February to October last year.

Takeda, 26, Sakai, 27, and Shinohara, 29, all of Osaka's Yodogawa-ku, have already been charged with three counts of theft. Police said that on the afternoon of Oct. 9, they broke into a home in Takaishi, Osaka Prefecture. On March 16 last year, police said the three also broke in to a Nishi Yodogawa-ku home, stealing about 160,000 yen in cash and bags and other valuables worth around 550,000 yen.

Each of the three women is divorced and the mother of one child. They would leave their children at a daycare center and then go around searching for houses to sneak into in the hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., police said. Each of the women also had a specific role on heists, with Sakai serving as lookout, Shinohara the driver of their getaway car and Takeda going into the homes.

Each of the women are on welfare, but allegedly took to stealing to get money for entertainment and other lifestyle needs.