The 300 Million Yen Affair

On the morning of December 10, 1968, four Kokubunji branch employees of the of Nihon Shintaku Ginko (bank) transported 294,307,500 yen in the trunk of a company car. The metal boxes contained bonuses for the employees of Toshiba’s Fuchu factory. They were stopped in the street next to Tokyo Fuchu prison by a young uniformed officer on a police motorcycle. The policeman informed them that their branch manager’s house had been blown up, and they had received a warning that dynamite had been planted in the transport car. The four employees exited the vehicle while the officer crawled under the car to locate the bomb. Moments later, the employees noticed smoke and flames under the car as the officer rolled out, shouting that it was about to explode. When the employees retreated to the prison walls, the policeman got into the car and drove away.

The bank employees had believed the thief was a policeman, and had accepted his story about the bomb as he had sent threatening letters to the bank manager beforehand. The smoke and flames turned out to be the result of a warning flare he had ignited while under the car. At some point, the thief abandoned the bank’s car and transferred the metal boxes to another car, stolen beforehand. That car too was abandoned, and the boxes transferred once again to another previously stolen vehicle.

120 pieces of evidence were left at the scene of the crime, including the “police” motorcycle, which had been painted white. However, the evidence was primarily common everyday items, scattered on purpose to confuse the police investigation.

A massive police investigation was launched, posting 780,000 montage pictures throughout Japan. The list of suspects included 110,000 names, and 170,000 policemen participated in the investigation — the largest investigation in Japanese history. However, the 7-year investigation offered few answers, and in December 1975, the statute of limitations on the crime passed without an arrest. By 1988, the thief was also relieved of any civil liabilities, allowing him to tell his story without fear of legal repercussions. He has yet to come forward.

First heard about this at http://www.futilitycloset.com, then started checking ol’ Wiki… Reminded me of the D.B. Cooper incident, which is the only unsolved domestic airplane hijacking in history (you can Wiki that one yourself if you haven’t heard about it)… I’m always a sucker for victimless heists where the perp gets away…

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~ by herodotuswept on November 27, 2007.

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