Investigative sources say Japanese police have identified a suspect in a series of robberies.
The perpetrators were allegedly recruited through social media by a person called "Luffy."
In one incident, a 90-year-old Tokyo woman was robbed and murdered.
Police who arrested a suspect in a separate robbery found evidence on their phone related to that case.
Sources say phone records led police to "Luffy," who is thought to be in the Philippines.
That person may have directed crimes committed in cities including Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima.
One Kyoto robbery saw thieves nab over 500,000 dollars' worth of luxury watches.
Sources suggest Luffy sent them instructions through a messaging app that deletes chats after a certain period.
Police believe the operation could have played out in other parts of Japan, including Shiga, Osaka and Yamaguchi prefectures.