A group of thieves stole a massive block of gold worth more than US$2 million (EUR1.5 million) from a Japanese museum in a heist police said could have been prevented - if only the curators hadn't left the showcases wide open.
The Ohashi Collection Kan museum in Takayama, central Japan, had kept the 100 kilogram (220 pound) gold bullion unguarded by sensors or even a case because it wanted visitors to be able to touch it, according to local police officer Shinji Kurake.
But on Sunday, three masked men made off with the gold block in broad daylight while the museum was open, Kurake said. A female employee who was alerted by the sound of their footsteps tried to intervene, but was roughly pushed aside.
"We were very shocked... but of course this was a big block of gold, and there was no security," Kurake said. "I suppose they could have been a little more careful."
Police were still searching for the group, who were thought to be driven away by a fourth accomplice, reports AP.
The Ohashi museum purchased the gold bar in 1994 for 200 million yen, according to its Web site. In today's gold prices, the block would be worth about US$2.1 million (EUR1.58 million).
The museum was closed for an "emergency holiday" on Monday and officials could not be reached for comment.
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