FREMONT -- Thieves broke into a grocery store over the weekend and stole a California Lottery Scratchers vending machine, police said.

The machine was found a few hours later several blocks from the store, in the roadway on Las Palmas Avenue, police said.

It was emptied of cash, but some tickets were still in the machine.

The heist took place at 3:45 a.m. Saturday at the Lucky on the 40000 block of Mission Boulevard, police said.

Employees at the store came to work at 5 a.m. and found the front doors broken.

The machines are very large, so it's likely it was removed by more than one person, police said.

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Fremont police at 510-790-6760.

Information may also be left anonymously on a silent witness hotline at 510-578-4000, ext. 500.

Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at nalund@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.