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MITO, Ibaraki Pref. — Masked men attacked a bank van before dawn August 8 at an agricultural cooperative in Shimodate, Ibaraki Prefecture, getting away with three cash boxes containing 222 million yen.

According to statistics from the National Police Agency, the heist is the fifth largest since the end of World War II.

One of the two guards was hit on the head and knocked unconscious in the attack, which happened in front of the Kitatsukuba head office of the Japan Agricultural Cooperative at about 5:30 a.m., according to the Ibaraki Prefectural Police. After knocking out the guard, the attackers bound and blindfolded him and the other guard with tape and put them inside the van, police said.

One of the two or three masked men was said to have been carrying an object resembling a gun. He reportedly threatened the guards by saying, “I’ll kill you if you make a noise.” The guards later managed to free themselves and phone their security firm, which called police at 6:27 a.m.

Cash boxes made of duralumin are delivered to the farm co-op office every weekday morning, the police said. The cash haul consisted of 192 million yen for the JA Kitatsukuba head office and 30 million yen for branch offices, police said.

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