A locally-owned game and card shop in Forest Lake, Minnesota was robbed by a lone thief in the middle of the night on February 10. The man escaped with $US250,000 (around A$347,050) worth of rare Pokémon cards and cash.
As reported by KARE 11, Punch Out Gaming is a self-described “mum and pop store” that buys and sells collectible trading cards and video games. Like most other places, the store has seen a huge increase in demand for anything and everything Pokémon, especially cards.
This increased demand and the crazy prices some cards can go for online are likely the reasons a man decided to steal rare Pokémon cards and other Pokemon-related merchandise from the local shop. We’ve also seen the increased demand for cards lead to chaotic scenes at stores like Walmart.
To do so, on February 10, the man broke through a sidewall in the back of the store after gaining access to a shop right next door to Punch Out Gaming. After busting a small hole through the wall, he entered the shop’s storage area and spent nearly two hours loading up on Pokémon cards. All of this was caught on camera via the store’s video surveillance system.
It’s reported that because the thief never opened any doors, no alarms were tripped.
Jason Peterson, a co-owner of the shop, told KARE 11 that he felt “numb” watching the video of the burglar grabbing cards and other pieces of Pokémon merch.
“I just feel numb, just watchving somebody come in and take everything away that you worked so hard to build up over the years,” said Peterson.
Another owner of the store, Eric Johnson, told Fox 9 that he believed another person helped the thief as the boxes stolen were so many boxes to move in a short amount of time.
“I realised how much money, product, and time we put into it, and I just started crying…I can’t recover this product because our distributors don’t have any. So, even with the insurance money, that doesn’t do us any good,” explained Johnson.
One positive to come out of all this is the outpouring of support that the owners have seen online. According to Johnson, he’s seen many online Pokémon fans offering support and others vowing to watch for any possible stolen cards or merch being sold online and reporting it.
Local customers have also come together to help support Punch Out Gaming, which has been open for nearly a decade in the area.
“We’re really going to keep going forward, reinvent and come back,” said Peterson.
The surveillance video provides a fairly clear image of the suspect who broke into the store via the hole.