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OSAKA — Safes containing a total of 27.5 million yen were stolen early Monday from five supermarkets in Osaka and Hyogo prefectures, police said.

One day earlier, safes at three other supermarkets in Osaka and Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, were taken that together contained 18 million yen.

Police suspect the crimes may have been carried out by the same party, because heavy safes — each weighing between 50 kg and 200 kg — were quickly removed from the stores. They also suspect the thieves chose the three-day weekend because stores tend to have increased sales over holiday periods.

The burglars apparently used metal tools to break into the four supermarkets Monday, police said.

The first break-in Monday was at the Hayashi store in Sennan, Osaka Prefecture, at 12:50 a.m. The safe contained about 3 million yen in cash.

At 3:35 a.m., two 50 kg safes containing 3.54 million yen were stolen from another Hayashi supermarket in Izumiotsu, Osaka Prefecture.

Just 15 minutes later, two 150 kg safes containing 15 million yen in cash and about 250,000 yen in cash vouchers were stolen from a Center Seven supermarket in Amagasaki.

At 7:30 a.m., the store manager of a Yamasa supermarket in Toyonaka, Osaka Prefecture, discovered that a 200-kg safe containing about 4 million yen in cash was missing, police said.

Meanwhile, an employee who arrived for work at the Masukatto supermarket in Itami, Osaka Prefecture, at 7:45 a.m. discovered that a 100-kg safe containing 2 million yen in cash and 19 million yen in checks was missing.

With the exception of the Toyonaka and Itami burglaries, police were alerted to the thefts by store security systems.

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