NIIGATA – Police in Niigata Prefecture said Tuesday they have arrested 11 men, including a gangster, in connection with thefts of ¥1.8 billion ($17.3 million) from cash machines across Japan on a single day in mid-May.
The nationwide heist occurred in about two hours on May 15, involving about 1,400 convenience store automated teller machines in 17 prefectures, including Tokyo.
Junya Tanaka, 35, a senior member of a group affiliated with the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest organized crime syndicate, and 10 other suspects aged between 23 and 49 are suspected of stealing a total of ¥11.4 million using fake credit cards from ATMs at 11 convenience stores in the Sea of Japan coastal prefecture on that day.
Some of the 11 suspects have admitted to the allegations, according to the police.
The police tracked down the suspects after examining security camera videos, in which they were using generic white cards to withdrawal cash from ATMs. The police said the fake cards contained data from South Africa’s Standard Bank.
A total of ¥88 millionin cash has been confirmed stolen from around 70 convenience stores in Niigata in the massive thefts.