Japanese police arrest 74-year-old ninja thief suspect

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Image caption,
The suspect carried out break-ins dressed as a ninja (file photo)

Japanese police say they have finally caught a prolific thief who dressed as a ninja to carry out raids - and were surprised to find he was 74.

After his usually covered face was caught on a security camera this year, he was put under surveillance which led to his arrest in July.

Police now believe he is the so-called "Ninja of Heisei", thought to have carried out more than 250 break-ins.

He has been charged with thefts worth 30m yen ($260,000; £200,000).

Police had been baffled by a series of burglaries over eight years carried out by a suspect wearing black, assuming they had been carried out by someone younger.

Investigators observed the suspect, whom they say seemed little different from most elderly men, during the day.

But they say he then went into an abandoned building and changed clothes before waiting until it got dark to steal.

"He was dressed all in black just like a ninja," a senior official in the western Japanese city of Osaka said.

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Police said the thief displayed great physical ability, running effortlessly on top of walls instead of taking the streets.

After his arrest, the man was quoted as saying: "If I were younger, I wouldn't have been caught. I'll quit now as I'm 74 and old enough."

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