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Kaohsiung mayor orders police to track down Costco thieves

Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu yesterday ordered a full-scale investigation into a serious burglar incident that occurred during the night when Tropical Storm Talim hit the city. Two highly skilled robbers broke into a Costco Wholesale Co. branch in Kaohsiung, stealing jewelry and gems worth NT$4 million at 2 a.m. on Monday. The police said they were also searching for a third suspect who acted as the thieves' getaway driver.

Describing the robbers as “ninjas,” fully dressed in black outfits, police said the robbers forced their way into the building by drilling an 80-centimeter hole on the wall some 2 meters away from the front door, avoiding the alarm system.

Surveillance camera footage shows the robbers using center punch tools to crack the four points of the glass on display cases, shattering them without triggering the alarm system on the case locks, according to the police. The robbers might be part of a trained theft organization, considering their professional skills, the police said.

Investigators said they are positive about the investigation and are chasing up a lead on a “suspicious vehicle” seen in the security footage. Mayor Chen also urged police to expand their inspection to black markets and other areas as soon as possible to track down the ring. The police stated that the case will be their top investigative priority.

According to local media, Costco's Marketing Manager Wang Yu-mei was bewildered at how the burglars could break in so easily with the warehouse fully equipped with burglar alarm systems. It also added that Vice President of the security system business group Taiwan Secom Company Chu Han-kuang stated they will be fully cooperative with the police since they are partly responsible for the warehouse security.

The Dashun store, which opened in August last year, is Costco's second branch in Kaohsiung. Its security systems possess the same quality level as those used in other warehouses in America, said Costco. This was the first burglary case in the warehouse club since the company entered the Taiwan market 15 years ago, said Wang.

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