MATSUE - An intensive inves-tigation involving about 50 police officers has revealed the culprit in the vandalism of about 40 cars in the Higashi-Izumo area of Matsue this spring.
The windshield wipers of about 40 cars were found damaged in a residential district of Higashi-Izumo. Matsue Police Station received damage reports and investigated, putting about 50 officers on the case. However, security cameras set up as a precaution revealed that crows were damaging the wipers - possibly taking the rubber lining to build nests - leading police to sheepishly say that they cannot arrest crows.
The incidents started around February. A string of vandalism cases occurred within a residential area of about 300 square meters, in which the rubber portion of windshield wipers was ripped off or otherwise damaged.
Local authorities went on high alert. Undercover police cars frequently patrolled the residential area during the day, and officers conducted stakeouts at night. Security cameras were also installed.
In late May, one of the cameras captured a dark figure on the hood of a car, pecking at a wiper. With the aid of eyewitness statements, police came to the conclusion that crows were responsible for the vandalism spree.
The incidents have since died down, but a local community association reportedly intends to take precautions against next year's crow breeding season.
"Crows sometimes use soft mate-rials as cushioning to build nests," said Prof. Shoei Sugita, who teaches animal biology at Utsunomiya University and is familiar with the habits of crows. "It's unusual, however, that such a small area was intensively targeted."