Hole-in-the-wall thieves hit Tobu

Kyodo News

Some ¥5 million worth of watches and other items were stolen before dawn Thursday from Tobu Department Store Co.’s Ikebukuro store in Tokyo, and the thieves apparently got in via a hole they cut in the outer wall of the seventh floor — a tactic similar to a heist in the Ginza district earlier this year for which a group in Hong Kong was charged, police said.

A burglar alarm was set off around 3:20 a.m., and security guards determined some 70 items had been stolen.

Security camera footage indicates three people who appeared to be Asian entered the store through the roughly 60-sq.-cm hole from external emergency stairs after 12:40 a.m. and left around 3:40 a.m. after breaking showcases in eight locations, the police said, suspecting another Hong Kong connection.

Another hole of similar size was also found on the outer wall of the seventh floor, while a hydraulic jack, a saw and a flashlight were found outside the store, they said.

Earlier this year, ¥245 million worth of brand-name watches were stolen from a department store in the Ginza district. A hole had also been bored into the sixth-floor wall near where the jewelry was kept.