13.10.19

Stalker figures out where his target lives from reflection in her eyes in a photo

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Uses clue to ambush, gag, and grope woman as she returns home.

On the evening of September 1, a Japanese idol singer was returning to her home in Tokyo’s Edogawa Ward. However, before she was able to enter her condominium, she was attacked by a man who gagged her with a towel and pulled her down from her down from behind.



He then proceeded to grope her, though thankfully the woman was not injured in the incident. Police later arrested the attacker, Hibiki Sato, aged 26 and an obsessed fan of the idol.

The existence of delusional and even dangerous fans is an ugly truth of the idol industry, and as a result most idols, and their talent agencies, are extremely protective of any information that could give stalkers and other unsavory types a clue as to where the singer lives. However, Sato is a resident of Saitama City, which is roughly 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) away from Edogawa Ward, so it didn’t seem likely that he just happened to spot the idol by chance while he was out and about.

During questioning investigators learned that Sato had indeed been able to deduce where the idol lived, and through a startling method. Like most people in modern show business, the idol has a social media account she posts pictures on, and she’d taken one near the station closest to her condo. Knowing the risks of her profession, though, she’d taken care not to have her camera lens pointed only at her face, not at the station building or anything else that could be used to deduce her location, but there was one thing she hadn’t accounted for: her eyes.

Sato told investigators that by looking closely at the idol’s photo, he could see the surrounding scenery reflected in her eyes. That let him figure out which station she’d been at, and so he waited outside the station to watch for her on her way home. Once he spotted her, he tailed her to the building she lives in, and using other photos she’d taken inside her condo and posted on social media as references, he noted the location of her windows and curtains, as well as the angle of the sunlight coming in from outside, and was able to calculate which room in the building is hers.

Prosecutors formally indicted Sato on Tuesday, and with his admission of the stalking methods he employed, his conviction seems like a foregone conclusion. However, with camera quality improving all the time, Sato’s method is likely to become even more effective in the future, and it’s now more important than ever to be cautious about what sort of images you post online.

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