Selling stolen goods to the place you took them from in the first place may not be the most brilliant of thievery plans, but it certainly saves on police paperwork. This is the alleged crime of a Washington man, who the Bellingham Herald reports stole a whole bunch of Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering cards, then later tried to sell them back to the same store. Ingenious.
As spotted by Game Rant, the Washington State paper reports that a man is suspected of stealing a hefty $20,000 of Pokémon and Magic cards from a card store located in the wonderfully named Whatcom County (fun fact: it’s derived from the Lummi for “noisy water”), spitting distance from the Canadian border. Around midnight on August 9, the suspect is reported to have smashed the glass door of the Cosmic Games store (the original report doesn’t name the store, but we’ve identified it from the address), then grabbed a range of items, including the TCG packs.
It might have been the perfect heist, had the individual not returned to the scene of the crime to attempt to offload the exact-same stolen goods. Almost a month later, on September 3, the suspect is alleged to have entered the store to try to sell back cards he’d nicked only a few weeks before.
Staff at Cosmic recognized the man in part based on the merchandise itself. “We recognised the singles that the thief had taken from the cases almost immediately,” a representative for the shop told us via email, noting that the distinctive cards “were a large stack of shiny rares that had all been stored in one of the smashed pokemon displays.” They proceeded to confront him, at which point the Herald reports he “became belligerent,” and is described as saying, “I’ll rob you again,” before leaving. However, America’s Best Thief managed to leave the pile of cards in the store in his temper. Perfect.
Having identified they were certainly cards that had been stolen from them, the store’s staff contacted the police, and provided them with a photograph of the suspect. The police went on to arrest the master criminal, finding not only more Pokémon cards, but also fentanyl and methamphetamine. Unfortunately, according to Cosmic Games, the merchandise has lost much of its value, saying of the recovered goods, “it looked like around $6000 to $8000 worth at first but after actually getting a chance to go through them it was closer to $1000 worth. It all had sustained damage from the theft and how they had been stored and handled in the weeks since and it is now possibly a few hundred dollars of the original value due to that.”
The thief was charged with second-degree burglary, first-degree theft, second-degree possession of stolen property, first-degree trafficking, and best of all, malicious mischief, then released from jail “on personal recognizance” last Sunday, September 4.
We’ve reached out to the Bellingham Police Department to ask for any further details, and to see if any more of the stolen merchandise has been recovered, and will update should we hear back.
And by the way, if you live in the area, Cosmic Games looks fantastic. But, you know, pay for your stuff.
Updated, 9/9/21, 5:30 p.m. ET: This post has been updated with details provided by Cosmic Games.