Three veteran burglars were arrested while divvying up their HK$180,000 loot over a late-night meal in McDonald's, police said yesterday.
Detectives arrested the trio after an undercover surveillance team watched them burgle a food store in Tsuen Wan.
Officers followed the men to a nearby McDonald's and arrested them mid-meal.
Earlier the team had watched as the three men, aged 59, 61 and 67, entered an alleyway adjacent to the store off Tai Ho Road.
One of the men acted as a lookout while the other two crawled through a ventilation shaft into the store. They broke open a safe and a cash register and stole the money before visiting the McDonald's on Tsuen Wan Market Street, less than 50 metres away, where they were arrested at about 3am.
Police found them in possession of HK$180,000 in cash, a crowbar and a pair of pliers.
"Our intelligence shows they are veteran thieves looking for easy targets to burgle," a police officer said. "Investigations indicated they targeted ground-floor shops with lax security."
Last night, three Hongkongers were being questioned at Kowloon City police station but no charges had been laid. One of the men was later escorted to his home on the Tin Ching Estate in Tin Shui Wai, Yuen Long, where police planned to carry out a search.
The Kowloon West regional crime unit was investigating.
In a separate incident, thieves stole HK$1 million in cash, jewellery and watches from a house on Cheung Chau on Sunday.
The owner, 56, returned to find his home on Cheung Chau Peak Road had been ransacked and a safe prised open. He called police at about 9pm.
Police recorded 3,284 burglaries in the first 11 months of last year, a 15.7 per cent drop from the same period of 2012.
Thirty-eight of the break-ins in residential buildings involved losses of at least HK$500,000. In five burglaries on Christmas Day, robbers got away with between HK$45,000 and HK$1.6 million.