At 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, police found a station wagon full of 112 Takami brand melons during a routine patrol in the Kaminagai area. Police subsequently accused six Vietnamese nationals traveling in the vehicle, including, Tran Quang Khai, 29, of stealing the melons from the nearby field of a 69-year-old male farmer. The fruit is valued at 67,000 yen.
Tran denies the charges, telling police that he did not steal the melons. The other five suspects said they planned to eat the fruit.
Due to a rash of thefts of melons in May, police had intensified patrols of the area. The vehicle carrying the suspects had been outfitted with a rack that was being used to carry the melons.
Takami melons are well-known in the local area.