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Japan Thief Drops Ming Platter

January 7, 1998

TOKYO (AP) _ An art thief made an expensive blunder while fleeing from a central Japanese museum _ he dropped a fragile, 600-year-old Chinese platter in the road.

The 19-inch Ming Dynasty platter, the centerpiece of an exhibit at the Yanmonoki museum, was worth an estimated $385,000, Takashi Uematsu, deputy chief of police in Ito, said Wednesday.

Officials at the museum, in a hot springs resort 60 miles southwest of Tokyo, were unavailable for comment.

The robber broke into the museum through a first floor window Monday evening and a security guard spotted him running from the building to a waiting car, Uematsu said.

The guard found the shattered remains of the platter while chasing the suspect. No arrests have been made.

Despite his fumbling, the thief didn’t go away empty-handed. He held on to a pair of 20-inch-tall Chinese Sung Dynasty vases worth $38,500.

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