Here's the background story: My friend owns a late-model mini-van, in very good condition. She had the van parked on the basement 3rd level (B3) of a parking garage under the Tokyo Dome Hotel
, which is adjacent to the Tokyo Dome, a sports arena in downtown Tokyo (seats 55,000 people), as well as an amusement park and a small shopping mall. Here's a link to a map
showing the position of the hotel, the Dome and surroundings.
The hotel was fully booked for a Japanese holiday period, and only registered guests at the hotel would be able to gain access to the hotel parking garage. My friend, who lives in Tokyo, was able to park there that day, however, as she has a relative working at the hotel who gave her a pass. She and her family came to the hotel for dinner, arriving around 4PM. She returned to the garage at around 9PM the same evening. She went to retrieve her car, but couldn't find it on the B3 level where she'd parked. Wondering if she'd confused her parking place, she went one level up, to B2. There she found her van. Aside from the fact that it was on the wrong floor, she noticed that it had been parked front-end in, whereas she had backed her van into her parking place on the B3 level. The car was locked: nothing seemed remiss, there were no traces that it had been broken into, and nothing in the car (baby seat, miscellaneous kid's toys, etc.) was missing.
My friend went first to hotel personnel, who called the police. Police arrived at the hotel and inspected the car. They dusted for fingerprints, they took her fingerprint samples to compare. They questioned her about all details, speaking with her from around 10PM til around 1AM. They told her they had dusted for fingerprints on the steering wheel and gear shift, and had found nothing.
The surveillance tapes (which police showed to my friend) show a man driving out of the garage in her mini-van at 6:30PM . Tapes also show a man who is dressed identically but who appears to be a different person (this also according to police who viewed the tapes) returning only 12 minutes later, at 6:42PM. The tapes show the man driving with the palms of his hands and/or his forearms, so as not to leave prints. And although the weather was very
hot that day the man (men) were wearing an unbuttoned dress shirt over a t-shirt, plus a baseball cap. Police told my friend that the shirt tail would've been used to work the gearshift, so as not to leave prints. This man had the kind of pass that a hotel guest would have, in order to leave the garage in a vehicle, and return in a vehicle. This pass is also necessary to gain entrance into the hotel building from the garage. This man was also seen in surveillance tapes shot inside the hotel.
The street layout of the hotel/Dome complex requires a driver to take a rather roundabout route, circling the Dome, in order to get out of the complex and onto any other city streets. This route takes approximately 10 minutes. The car was gone from out of the garage for only 12 minutes, so it's safe to say it didn't go very far!
One last thing: the Tokyo cops who talked to my friend told her that these guys seemed very professionsl and then they told her that they'd probably never be caught!
Why would someone steal a car out of a garage, keep it for such a short time, then have it returned so quickly (by another person in identical clothing)?