A pair of thieves made off with over $11,000 in stolen Pokemon cards in a Tokyo heist that took place on New Year’s Eve.
According to Japanese news outlet FNN (via journalist Jake Adelstein and Games Radar), two individuals wearing balaclavas entered the Fukufuku Trading Card store in Ikebukuro, Tokyo at around 4:30 AM on New Year's. The entrance to the store on the ground floor was locked, so the thieves scaled the outside wall and entered through a glass door on the second floor. Police found evidence of charring on the ground, suggesting that the perpetrators used a blow torch to break in.
Once inside, the two used a hammer to smash several Pokemon Card display cases and started shoveling cards into an open bag. It appears the thieves may have set a time limit for themselves as after a minute, one of them looked at their phone and asked their partner if they wanted to leave. They then left with whatever Pokemon cards they had grabbed.
Yuma Hashida, store manager at Fukufuku Trading Card Ikebukuro, said he "can't forgive the culprits" for stealing from his business on New Year's Eve. "We mainly deal with cards with high rarity, but there was a wide range of cards, from old Pokémon cards from 20 years ago to new cards, but all of them were taken," he added.
About 100 cards were stolen with an estimated value of 1.5 million Yen ($11,360 USD). Tokyo Metropolitan Police are still searching for suspects.
Prices of Pokemon cards have skyrocketed in recent years due to the game's steadily rising popularity. Some cards can fetch prices of thousands of dollars, while collectors can sometimes spend hundreds of thousands or even millions on particularly rare cards.
However, with rising prices comes an increase in crime. Last year was full of reports of individuals and businesses suffering break-ins and losing thousands of dollars in Pokemon cards to theft. One incident of Pokemon theft in Florida left one dead and three injured after police were called.
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