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Ring suspected in laundromat break-ins in Kanto

TOKYO (TR) – Police are seeking up to three men who are believed to have broken into dozens of outlets of a chain of laundromats in the Kanto area over the past few months, reports NHK (Oct. 4).

Surveillance camera footage taken at one outlet of Senkaku in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture showed two men in dark clothes, breathing masks and caps breaking into a change machine at around 11 p.m. on October 2.

In carrying out the theft, the pair used a crowbar and a blow torch. The entire operation took six minutes, police said.

Since August, the same ring is believed to have stolen about 9 million yen in cash by breaking into change machines at 37 locations of the chain in Tokyo, Kanagawa and Saitama prefectures.

A thief breaks into a change machine at a laundromat in Kita Ward (Twitter)

When factoring in repairs to the machines, the losses are believed to exceed 200 million yen, police said.

“It can be two or three persons,” says Yoshiyuki Nishiyama, the president of Senkaku. “They’re done in a few minutes, so there’s no time to alert police.”

In at least one case in Tokyo, the thieves used a vehicle with a stolen license plate.