Tokyo Ginza robbery leader encouraged accomplices: sources

Several masked assailants broke into a luxury watch store in Tokyo's Ginza shopping district on Monday. They threatened to kill the sales clerks with a knife and escaped with the stolen goods in a van.

Investigators say one of the perpetrators played a leading role during the robbery, voicing encouragement to the others and telling them they could continue stealing for at least 30 more seconds.

The suspects were reportedly in the store for about 10 minutes. It's believed they used crowbars to shatter the glass showcases and then stuffed wristwatches into black bags before making their escape.

Police subsequently found the abandoned getaway van in an area close to Ginza. They then arrested four people between the ages of 16 and 19 at a nearby condominium on charges including trespassing. Police believe the teenagers were involved in the robbery.

Police say three of the suspects have admitted to trespassing, but one, a high school student, is denying the charge. The suspects have reportedly stated they don't know each other.