Trio held in March museum theft of 250 million yen gold block

Kyodo

Police have arrested three suspects in connection with the snatching of a 100-kg block of gold bullion worth 250 million yen from a museum in Takayama, Gifu Prefecture, in March, investigative sources have said.

The Gifu Prefectural Police has seized a gold piece in the possession of the three — a Japanese man, another man of unconfirmed nationality and a Romanian woman — on suspicion it is part of the stolen block, the sources said.

Police believe one or more of the three was directly involved in the snatching of the gold block from the museum, they said.

The seized gold piece, trimmed to about two-thirds the size of the stolen block, was found in one of the two men’s homes in Kitakyushu, the sources said.

According to an investigation, security cameras captured intruders entering the Collection of Ohashi museum and making off with the gold. Police are trying to confirm whether the robbers are the three arrest suspects.

The gold block was stolen by three people while it was on display on the second floor of the museum, which is adjacent to a limestone cave in the city around 12:45 p.m. on March 18, according to police.

The thieves knocked down a female employee who tried to prevent them from snatching the gold, slightly injuring her, police said.

The museum allows visitors to freely touch the gold cube, which was about 20 cm per side and kept on open display, according to the private company that runs both the museum and sightseeing trips inside the cave.