A burglar reportedly stole about $250,000 worth of Pokémon cards from a video games and collectibles shop in Minnesota.
Punch-Out Gaming, a family-owned business that has been operating in Forest Lake, Minnesota, for eight years, was hit with a burglary on Thursday morning, reported Pioneer Press (TwinCities.com).
Surveillance footage of the break-in shows the masked crook entering the shop’s storage rooms after creating a hole in the wall from a neighboring vacant store. While the video captured a clear image of the suspect, his identity remains unknown.
The intruder took an unspecified amount of money and Pokémon trading cards worth around $250,000. Among the stolen items are 72 Pokémon Evolving Skies booster boxes worth about $140 each. The burglar seemed to only have Pokémon on his mind, as he left behind a Wells Fargo bank bag containing $15,000 in cash as well as a new Xbox One console, the Star Tribune reported.
Mike Johnson, who co-owns Punch-Out Gaming with his brother, Eric Johnson, found out about the break-in at around 9:30 a.m. on Thursday as he opened the store for business. Based on the time stamp on the security footage, the burglary occurred at 1:39 a.m. that same day.
Eric believes whoever was behind the theft is familiar with the store because they knew exactly what to do to get into the areas where the Pokémon merchandise is stored.
“They were pretty precise on where they went through, which leads us to believe it was somebody who used to work here or it’s someone we know who has seen those rooms,” he observed. “Our store has so much security here, but we don’t have a motion sensor in our storage room because we never thought someone would go through a wall.”
In a separate interview with FOX9, Eric said that the burglar ransacked two storage rooms stacked with Pokémon products in about two hours, noting that the suspect “must have had help because there were a lot of boxes.”
Eric lamented that while the store is insured, he still expects a significant amount of loss from the burglary.
“I realized how much money, product, and time we put into it, and I just started crying,” he was quoted as saying. “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.”
Pokémon card prices have skyrocketed due to a spike in demand while the supply of rare packs dwindled in recent years, with some cards selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Last year, a rare Pokémon Blastoise card was sold at an auction for a whopping $360,000, as NextShark previously reported. In 2019, an online auction sold a collection of Pokémon cards that included a super rare first edition Charizard for over $100,000.
Eric said the store has received support from the online Pokémon community, who are on the lookout for online listings that might be selling the stolen trading cards.
Local authorities in Forest Lake have categorized the man in the surveillance video as a “person of interest” in their investigation. They urge anyone with relevant information to call Forest Lake Police at 651-439-9381.